Sandra (3): Tangible TensionMature

Roger looked distinctly wary as he claimed his seat beside her. From where she was sitting Rhyley looked tense as well.

“Rhyley,” Roger said, in a tone that was a greeting and not overtly cold, but which held an undertone of caution.

“Roger,” Rhyley returned in a tone that held barely any emotion at all.

“You two know each other?” Sandra said, amazed. Today was turning out to be extremely weird. She was still very curious about the explanation for Rhyley’s name appearing in her dream.

“Yeah, we went to Scouts together, didn’t we?” Roger answered.

Rhyley nodded silently.

“Scouts?” Sandra repeated. “That’s cool.”

“So ... what was Rhyley saying to you?” Roger said, his tone guarded.

“Oh...” Sandra hesitated. “It’s a bit awkward, actually.” Roger frowned. “We ... I dreamt his name.”

Roger looked startled.

What?”

“It’s true,” Rhyley said quietly, looking awkward. He was also looking at the table as if he couldn’t meet Roger’s gaze.

“Oh heck,” Roger said, leaning back against the back of his chair for support. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Sandra frowned, even more confused.

“Roger, what’s going on? Do you know as well? Rhyley said he’d explain it to me period 6. I just asked if you could come along too.”

Roger sat up straight.

“Well, he’d better let me come too.” He looked at Rhyley as he said it, his eyes flashing with ... what was that? Anger? Angry protectiveness? Sandra didn’t understand. Was Rhyley... dangerous?

“Yeah, go for it,” Rhyley muttered. He didn’t look happy at all.

“Is there ... some kind of tension here?” Sandra wondered aloud.

Roger answered instantly.

“Oh, I’d say.”

Rhyley glared at Roger.

“Roger has a problem with me,” he replied. “He’s moralistic, and he moralises very directly.”

“Moralistic... Are you immoral then?” Sandra asked.

“Roger thinks so,” Rhyley said unhelpfully.

Sandra looked at Roger for confirmation.

“What does he do?”

“He’s carnal,” Roger said. “He likes hot girlfriends, goes out with them for just one reason and doesn’t care squat about meaningful relationships.”

Sandra frowned.

“Oh, right...”

“And is that wrong, I ask you?” Rhyley seemed to be asking Sandra directly. And was it her imagination or was there something more to his question than a desire for confirmation that he wasn’t the bad guy? A ... subtle dependency on her answering it the way he wanted her to. “I don’t date girls who don’t want that. It’s a way of living my life. Why should Roger have a problem with it?”

Sandra wished he wasn’t asking her. Roger was her best friend, and in herself she didn’t really like the idea of a guy who had girls just for pleasure and not for love. In fact, she had decided to stay chaste till marriage because of it. But if Rhyley only dated girls with the same ideas, then ... what was really stopping him? She may believe in chastity but she didn’t believe in the imposition of it; she may believe in sex only for love but, in the end, it was what people wanted it to be for them.

“I don’t think I should take sides,” she said quietly.

Roger looked confused, and maybe a bit upset.

“I thought you’d have the same opinion as me, Sandra...”

Sandra looked at him, her gaze slightly sharp.

“Can we talk about this later, Roger? Look, it’s amazing that one of the librarians hasn’t sent us out. Let’s get on with what we need to do and meet up again in period 6 to talk about the weird stuff.”

“Yeah, I second that,” Rhyley said.

Roger shot him a searching look but Rhyley was already looking down at his Economics folder and changing his focus.

“All right,” Roger said quietly. He tucked the sheets he had printed out into a plastic wallet in his Latin folder.

Sandra sighed. She hated leaving it like this, feeling like she had let Roger down. But maybe Roger shouldn’t have been so moralistic towards Rhyley...

Wait, what was she thinking? She barely knew Rhyley. Perhaps he was worse than Roger had made him out to be. Oh, this was hopeless. She re-opened Wuthering Heights, which she had closed in order to talk to Roger, and let herself be drawn back into the story. 

~

The End

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