The Early Chapters: Prologue


At first
just a couple of glances…
Those steel-blue eyes meeting mine

Yuriko walked into Ryotei Academy. She had visited the school once with her father but the building still felt unfamiliar. All the corridors looked the same and she had a hard time remembering where her classroom was. To make the matter worse she was really tired. This was the first time she attended a night school instead of a regular one. A couple of weeks ago she hadn’t even known that there was such a thing as night school.

After walking around for a while Yuriko was able to find her classroom and she wasn’t even late yet which made relief wash over her body. Nothing could have been worse than drawing the wrong kind of attention to her on her first day… night here. She stepped into the classroom facing the teacher who smiled at her. Yet she couldn’t help but wonder if he knew about her past. He probably did but was kind enough not to say anything about it, at least for now. Instead he told her to introduce herself to everyone.

Yuriko drew breath, her hands shaking as she stood in front of everyone. Her one size too big cardigan was running down from her left shoulder, but she quickly tugged it back up. Suddenly she felt very self-conscious. She knew she should have buttoned her shirt all the way to the collar but she just hated how the topmost button pressed her neck, so she always left that open. For the very same reason her ribbon was always tied rather loosely. She pushed her glasses upwards before opening her mouth. 

“Um… hello everyone! My… my name is… Tsukino Yuriko. I… I moved to… Ka-kaminashi City with my dad a couple of weeks ago and transferred here. I… I hope we all get along…” 

Yuriko’s voice quivered as she spoke, and she hid her hands to the hem of her skirt. Her eyes gazed at the classroom quickly stopping for a second to a book cover with a rather philosophical title; she noticed slender fingers holding the book and deep eyes scanning it, but didn’t want to stare too long, so she let her eyes wander to the floor of the room.

What a clumsy woman, the dark haired male thought as the timid transfer student introduced herself to her new classmates. It had been quite some time since he last saw someone introduce themselves so nervously. Yuriko’s stuttering had been somewhat distracting, so much so that he set down the book he’d been reading before the start of class. Their eyes met, and the speed at which she averted her gaze only solidified his first impression of her that she was shy and consumed with uncertainty about the rather unusual night school environment. 

The teacher pointed out an empty seat for Yuriko after she had bowed. She rushed there, noticing that the desk next to her was empty. The teacher was asking if anyone knew where someone called a Sakamaki was, so she assumed that they must be her neighbour since all the other desks were taken.

As the class started Yuriko let her gaze wander through the classroom. The students were somewhat different than in her previous school and there was a strange atmosphere that lingered everywhere. She couldn’t really put her finger on it, yet she was able to feel it. 

Her eyes stopped for a moment again to the boy who was strikingly more handsome than any other, not that she should care about that kind of thing. The same boy who had been reading the book earlier. There was something in those steel-blue eyes and dark hair that she couldn’t help but look at. And when those eyes turned to her the heat rose on her cheeks.

No! This was dangerous! Yuriko turned to stare at the teacher and combed her blond, almost white hair better to cover her face with her fingers. Her heart jumped in her chest and it was hard to listen to what the teacher was telling to them, but she shouldn’t allow these thoughts. Not on her first night, not ever again. Those kinds of thoughts were a shortcut to hell and she wasn’t going to visit there again.

Yuriko tried her best to concentrate. She wanted to do better this time; if she were to fail again father would never forgive her. It was so shameful that she had to do the third year of high school all over knowing it was her own fault. She was the one who had decided to skip all the classes and laze around. Yes, there had been a reason… but as her father had said, there wasn’t a reason good enough to ruin her and her family’s life.

If family was even the right word for them… Ever since mother had left Yuriko had felt that she didn’t really belong anywhere. She was a disappointment to her father and nobody surely missed her in her previous school. Probably her classmates had been nothing but happy when she had decided not to show up anymore. So no family, no friends. She wanted to change all that but at the same time she didn’t want to stand out. 

A sigh left her lips as she turned another page on the book they were using in the class. Her right forefinger ran to the edge of the page a bit too fast and suddenly a sharp pain pierced the skin of her fingertip.

Ouch! She quickly put the finger on her mouth trying to ease the pain but it still lingered. The salty metallic taste jumped on her tongue as she licked the cut hoping the pain would dull. When she pulled her finger out, the tip was still slightly red. The cut was tiny and sharp, there was just a little drop of blood, nothing dangerous… but as everyone knew the papercuts were the worst ones.

Hair in the back of her head raised as she felt like something had just shifted in the classroom. She looked around her, noticing a few pairs of eyes glancing at her as if she had just done something unforgivable. The chill went down on her spine as she tried to appear as small as possible in her seat.

Despite Yuriko’s attempts to draw attention away from herself, the dark haired male’s stoic composure broke for just a moment when his gaze landed on her slouched form. Unlike the other students, however, there was no trace of disgust on his face. If anything, he looked rather enticed as his steel-blue eyes focused on the fresh blood seeping through the line parting her fingertip. 

The small area of skin was now an intoxicating shade of crimson. Her scent seemed to provoke the slightest movement from him, yet he still maintained his calm composure. The smell of Yuriko’s blood was so strong, so rich, seemingly distracting the boy whose eyes were practically glued to his book a while ago. Those steel-blue orbs found its way back to the front of the classroom as the lecture continued. 

Yuriko did her best to calm her breathing and jumping heart. She had done nothing wrong. If she acted normal now, nobody would think of anything about her licking her finger in the middle of class. 

When the class finally ended Yuriko’s eyes started back to the boy who had already grabbed his book. She didn’t want to stare but she couldn’t help but wonder if he loved reading as much as she did. Though she could never ask about that, there was no way she could speak to him. There was something really cold in him behind those beautiful eyes. It was better to concentrate on studying.

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

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