“Are you all right, mate?” Jonah asked as he hurried to keep up with Rhyley who was striding out of the music block and towards the common room.
“She’s chaste,” Rhyley responded, almost snarling. “Does Fate think this is funny or something? She’s my soulmate and she’s chaste.”
“What’s ‘chaste’?” Jonah asked, confused.
“When you don’t want sex before marriage - or, actually, now I think about it, when you don’t want to have it ever.”
“Why would anyone want that?” Jonah asked, shocked.
“I don’t know - maybe she’s Catholic. But whatever the reason, she is.”
“Mate, I ...” It was clear that Jonah didn’t know what to say. “That’s awful. I’m sorry.”
Rhyley didn’t reply. He stormed to the common room in silence and found Amelie on a couch watching American reality TV. Not caring that there were other people around, he sat down next to her and kissed her.
She pushed him away firmly.
“Rhyley, what are you doing?”
“I don’t want her,” Rhyley said quietly so that Amelie was the only one who could hear. “She’s all wrong for me. Come to the cinema tonight with me, Jonah and Willis.”
“Rhyley, I’ve got stuff to do,” Amelie murmured. She was frowning as she said it, as though she wished there was something she could do to help.
“Please, Amelie. I’ll go mad if you’re not there - I swear it.”
“I thought Lads’ Night was Lads’ Night,” she said gently.
“I don’t care. I don’t care about anything. In fact, they can go to the cinema by themselves. I’ll drive you home - we can stop on a quiet slip road and make out...”
“Rhyley, my dad’s picking me up,” Amelie interrupted. “And this isn’t fair - even if she’s wrong for you, you’ve got to persevere with it. Sometimes we’ve got to make sacrifices or compromises. You know that.”
“I don’t want to know that.” Rhyley gazed into her eyes. “I only want to know you.”
Amelie shook her head.
“No, Rhyley. Not now you have a soulmate.”
Frustrated, Rhyley got up and stalked to the snooker table room, a happily empty space. He sat on one of the three chairs there and sighed, running his hand through his hair. How could his soulmate be chaste? Not to mention prepared to insult him, in a way that was totally unfair because she didn’t know him at all.
Jonah sat next to him.
“You were prepared to bring Amelie along on Lads’ Night?” he asked, looking betrayed.
“Jonah, if you’re just going to tell me how much of an ass I am, you can get lost.”
Jonah stayed where he was.
“I think you really need to come out with us tonight,” he said frankly. “The worst thing you could do is mope around at home. So are we still on?”
“Did you ever consider that I might want to mope around at home?” Rhyley asked aggressively.
The question was rhetorical so Jonah didn’t answer. Instead he waited patiently for the yes or no to his question.
Rhyley sighed, the anger leaving him.
“Yeah, we’re still on.”
After everything, Rhyley was glad that he went. The film was all right and it distracted him from thinking about Sandra. It helped that he knew he was out with two people who would always take his side no matter what - that knowledge was a great comfort when it seemed like his so-called soulmate might not. After the film, as he drove Jonah and Willis to their respective homes, he said, “Thanks, you guys. I know I can be a right dick but I appreciate you putting up with me.”
“What else are friends for?” Jonah said.
“You know that we only put up with you so we can get you back big time one day?” Willis teased.
“I look forward to it.”