The Early Chapters: Chapter 01



The coolest guy
in our classroom and yet…
Is he as much of a book geek as I am?

Two weeks had passed and Yuriko had somewhat adapted to her new life in Ryoutei Academy. She was still rather tired but it was getting easier and easier to sleep by day and stay up by night. What wasn’t that easy was getting along with other students. Some of her classmates were rather odd, and she wasn’t sure what to think about them.

The Sakamaki brothers stood out for sure even though only two of them were in the third year… and one of them was a no show. Yuriko had only heard about Sakamaki Shu, not seen him in person, not that she really cared anyway. Sakamaki Reiji was another story, he was like an honor student in their class. Though Yuriko had noticed that there was someone else who probably outsmarted him.

Mukami Ruki.

She now knew his name. He seemed to always read books between classes if he didn’t leave the classroom and he knew all the right answers too. By now Yuriko was sure there wasn’t a subject that was his weakness… which was a polar opposite from her. She had so much catch up to do.

And yet here she was, in the library at lunch hour, looking for something to read for fun when she should have been studying and not thinking about anything fun at all. Yuriko let her fingertips travel along the edge of the shelf while she read the titles from the backs of the books. She didn’t really know what she wanted to read now, only that she needed an escape from everything.

Yuriko’s eyes stopped at Brontë. She had read Wuthering Heights earlier but maybe that was something she needed again right now. That story was so intense on every level; it didn’t let you focus on anything else when you were absorbed between pages. Yuriko reached her hand to grab the book but at the same time there were other fingers going after it too. They touched hers only briefly but their coolness made Yuriko almost jump.

She turned only to meet those steel-blue orbs she had avoided with all her might. Her hand shook as she lowered it.

“I… I’m sorry… You can… take the book, Ruki-san,” she said. Her voice was a mere whisper, and she dared not to look at him again. Her gaze wandered downwards while she was wondering if she should back down completely. 

Sure, Yuriko wanted to make friends in her new school, but… Ruki was… one of the cool guys. There was no way she could talk to him or be his friend even though he was the most interesting one. It was curious how nobody made fun of him even though he was always reading those books with heavy topics. But maybe it was because everybody saw him as cool as she did.

When Ruki was this close Yuriko could smell the masculine and captivating scent of his cologne… at least she thought it was that. And here she was once again thinking something she really shouldn’t. Back then these kinds of thoughts had been the start of all her problems, and the last thing she needed now was more of those. 

“Oh? I didn’t take you for the type who’s into gothic romance. Isn’t this book too dark and depressing for someone as meek as you?” Ruki withdrew his cold, slender fingers from the book. “You can have it. It looks like you need it more than I do. I’ve read Wuthering Heights before, actually.” He leaned slightly forward, looking at Yuriko with puzzled yet curious eyes. 

“I’ve… read it before… too…” Yuriko whispered, still not meeting his eyes. Her heart was beating so fast now. She swallowed thinking she should just leave now or at least choose a different book.

“You know, it’s rude not to make eye contact when I’m speaking with you,” Ruki commented in a low, authoritative voice, clearly aware of how often she averted her gaze from him. He snatched her chin in his hand and angled her head upward, forcing their eyes to meet. 

Yuriko stared at Ruki with wide eyes; her whole body tensed when she felt his cool fingers on her chin. Suddenly it was hard to breathe. She wanted to run away but was unable to move even her toes. No, actually she wasn’t because she felt how her toes curled in her shoes. What was this? Why did she react like this? 

I’ve never been this close to a boy… and he is more like a man already, she thought. This was the first time a boy touched her like this, and not even Haruko had treated her like this. Her touches had always been gentler and softer, feminine touches; and there was definitely something harsh in the way Ruki was holding her chin. He didn’t hurt her, but his grasp wasn’t tender either.

“I… I am really sorry… if I have offended you somehow, Ruki-san.” Yuriko did her best to keep her voice as steady as possible, yet it trembled a bit. “If you let me go… I just… We need Heike Monogatari for that literature class, ri-right? I think I’ll go look for that in-instead.”

He clicked his tongue in disappointment. “I’m not done talking with you yet,” Ruki’s voice remained cold, almost apathetic. “Besides, that book hasn’t even been assigned yet. Either you want to get a serious head start, or you’re looking for reasons to run away. Do I intimidate you that much?” 


Yuriko knew all too well that the said book hadn’t been assigned to them yet but she also knew that she needed to get serious with her studies if she wanted to graduate this time. Though that wasn’t really the reason why she had thought of Heike Monogatari just now. Ruki was right… but she couldn’t tell him that. There were so many things she couldn’t say in front of him. He was so smart, calm and collected; he wouldn’t even understand her struggles. And there was no way she would reveal that she had already failed the third year once. That was too embarrassing, shameful even.

Though Yuriko didn’t quite understand why Ruki cared about her motives. Why did it matter to him if he intimidated her? Or if she was trying to get a head start? It wasn’t his business in any way. 

“I… just want to make… sure… that… umhh… If I read it early on… then… I… ehmmm…”

Yuriko’s eyes started to wander around the library again. It seemed they were alone in here, and the thought made her heart beating even faster. How did other girls do this? Yuriko had seen them chatting with boys without problems, but it seemed she wasn’t able to have even one casual conversation. Though there was nothing casual about the way Ruki was holding her chin. Her skin would probably never forget his touch.

Yuriko took a couple of deep breaths and tried to calm down her jumping heart. There was no reason to get this agitated just because they had reached for the same book… and maybe there was something else Ruki wanted to talk about. If Yuriko just acted as normal as she could then he surely would let her go… and she could pretend that any of this—whatever this was—had never even happened.

“Um… you know, it doesn’t matter. If… if you aren’t done talking with me… then…” Why was this so hard?! Yuriko nibbled her lower lip for a while before forcing herself to look Ruki into the eyes. Those steel-blue orbs deep as the ocean… She couldn’t help but wonder what was going on behind them. For a moment those eyes took her as a prisoner, captured her as the heat rose on her cheeks. The heat so burning that she was sure she would be consumed with it.

When did he imprison me like this?

Yuriko couldn’t look around herself anymore. All she saw were those eyes.


What was with her? Yuriko wasn’t the type to fall for someone instantly and easily… and of course she wasn’t falling for Ruki. They’ve only known each other for a couple of weeks and never before talked to one another. She felt like this because the situation was so strange, but there was nothing more in it. Ruki was being so forceful with her, and it was only natural for her to get scared because of it. This must be the reason why nobody made fun of him ever.

Forced my gaze into his.

Yuriko blinked. Her face was so hot that she was now afraid she would faint soon. Nothing like this has ever happened to her. She decided then and there that she would keep her distance no matter what. From now on she would be more careful and stay out of his way, starting from the moment he would let her go.

“The way your eyes flicker back and forth… I wonder if it is mere intimidation after all. Perhaps it’s not that simple,” Ruki paused for a moment, his cold exterior turning into a confident smirk as Yuriko was frozen in his grasp. “Do I scare you? Or do I captivate you instead? Either way, whatever it is you’re feeling at this moment will only enhance your flavor.” 

The hand that held her chin began tracing her jawline. It wasn’t an affectionate touch by any means, but instead it was as if Ruki was thoroughly examining her face, eyes piercing straight through her. His forefinger trailed down along the column of her neck in a slow but steady motion. 

“That scent of yours has piqued my interest since the day you first arrived at this school. Immediately I knew there was something different about your blood,” alarmingly sharp fangs peeked through his spreading smile, a smile so wicked it would set her stomach aflame with anticipation of his unpredictable movements. His once ice cold eyes were now burning into her, a hint of mirth to those steel-blue depths, like a predator who just caught his prey. 

Ruki leaned his head toward where his hand had been tracing. “I’d like to satisfy this curiosity of mine,” he murmured hauntingly. Without hesitation his fangs soon pierced into Yuriko’s neck and his fingers were now digging into the sides of her forearms, restraining her movement like a beast kneading its prey with ferocious claws. A grunt of pleasure escaped his lips as the metallic taste filled his mouth completely, its hot silky texture cascading over the vampire’s tastebuds. It was as if Ruki sought to hear her screams of pained pleasure with each excruciating plow of his fangs. Her blood had definitely exceeded all his expectations; the smell from her papercut two weeks ago that had so easily captured his attention couldn’t hold a candle to this. Yuriko tasted so sweet, and her fear was icing on the cake. 

At first Yuriko couldn’t move nor say anything; her mind went blank when Ruki’s fangs sank into her skin. It was as if her brain couldn’t comprehend the situation. It was so absurd, so impossible, straight from a horror novel. The pain hit her and it was the most intense she had ever felt and at the same time it was the most intimate moment she had shared with anyone when his lips were touching her skin. Ruki had invaded her personal space the way she wouldn’t ever have imagined.

A few seconds later Yuriko pushed her hands towards Ruki’s chest as a scream left from her lips. Her whole body shook in his grasp but she tried to push him away and twisted her neck even though it only made the pain worse.

“No! Don’t! Stop it!!!”

The pure horror swiped over Yuriko as she struggled. What was this? Why had Ruki attacked her this way? Has she really seen fangs?! But… but… it wasn’t possible! No human had fangs and… vampires… they didn’t exist! …or did they?

Tears filled Yuriko’s eyes. She gasped for air almost desperately, hitting Ruki’s chest with her tiny fists.

The vampire simply wouldn’t budge. In fact, her fists pushing his chest felt like a mere tickle against his unwavering stature. Gripping her wrists, Ruki continued drinking the delectable red streaks that ran down the punctures he had inflicted in her neck. After drinking a considerable amount of her life force, he paused for a moment, briefly lifting his lips from her flesh. 

“Don’t resist me,” he growled before returning to her neck. His tone was colder than before, chilling to the bone. Once more his fangs met with her flesh and he savored the sweet taste of her blood. 

“Please, no! Don’t do this!!” Her voice was high pitched and trembling, words mixed with her sobs. Memories from her previous school flashed before her eyes but nothing compared to this, nothing like this had ever happened, this was something she couldn’t understand… Why? Why did Ruki do this?

The pain and fear were too much. Yuriko felt how her legs started to give up, going numb, at the same time as her field of vision began to fade to black. She was sinking, drowning to the place where there was no pain.

After deciding Yuriko had endured enough, Ruki pulled away from her, finally removing those dagger-like fangs from her neck. “Just as I thought, your blood truly is of the finest quality.” He smirked, wiping away the excess blood off his lips with the back of his hand. “Who would’ve thought someone as timid as yourself was harboring such sweet blood all along?” 

The vampire looked down at her wobbly legs as they shook uncontrollably, trying so hard not to succumb to the strain and exhaustion. “Was having your blood sucked for the first time really so painful? Hmph, what an eyesore, watching you tremble from just a few bites. Right now you’re nothing more than livestock.”

“Li-livestock?” The word left Yuriko’s mouth as she leaned her back against the bookshelf. She was sure she would soon fall to the floor if she didn’t get a hold of something. Her fingers grabbed the edge of the shelf still trembling while her other hand traveled to her neck touching the sore spot which Ruki’s fangs had just left.

“This can't… this can’t be… There are no such things as… vampires…”

Yuriko wanted to run but she wasn’t sure if she could trust her own legs right now. And where would she even go? They were in the same class… Ruki would always be there. Though… there were others in that classroom, so would it be safe?

Did the others know about this? Did they know what Ruki was? Was there someone who could help Yuriko out? But there was a chance that no one would believe her if she told about this… and she could take a risk that people would start making fun of her again.

“Why… why… did you do this? I…" 

She didn’t know what to say, so she started slowly inch sideways further from Ruki. She knew she shouldn’t skip classes, not again, but there was no way she could go back to that classroom now. Not when there were aching bite marks on her neck.

“Looks like class will start again soon. I’ll be taking my leave.” The vampire headed for the library’s exit, leaving Yuriko in her discombobulated state. 

I shouldn’t do anything
Just keep my distance, forget

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