Over the days following the ordeal of last period on Monday, Fate was by no means slacking in its duty to try to push Rhyley and Sandra together. When the former needed to go to the library to do homework in period 3 on Tuesday there was another class whose presence meant that the only free table was Sandra and Roger’s again; on Wednesday he couldn’t play football in the afternoon because of heavy rain and managed to end up playing doubles badminton with Jonah against Sandra and Roger (who played badminton normally); on Thursday the school’s RAF cadets couldn’t use the flight simulation programme on the computer because the school network was down and so had to go to the library where Sandra and Roger were in their Creative Writing session, and on Friday Rhyley arrived late for Citizenship and was forced to sit next to Sandra in the front row in the lecture theatre. At the very least Sandra seemed unwilling to talk to him, like he was to her. But Amelie Stoke caught up with him as he walked to lunch following the Citizenship session and after they had exchanged greetings asked “Do you intend to ignore her forever?”
Rhyley, who had been unaware that Amelie knew who his soulmate was, shot her a quizzical glance.
“You knew that was her?”
“Jonah told me,” she explained briskly. “So, are you never talking to her again?”
Rhyley couldn’t help but reflect on how he had loved Amelie’s persistence in the bedroom, but was finding it mildly annoying in the here and now.
“I don’t know, Amelie,” he confessed. “It’s suiting both of us well at the moment.”
“At the moment maybe, but what if it lasts the whole year? What if you go to university without having spoken to her? D’you honestly think you could cope with that?”
“I have no feelings for her,” Rhyley answered bluntly.
“This isn’t just crushes and short, hot relationships,” Rhyley,” Amelie said sharply. Her snappiness startled him. “If you ignore the Wolf Dream, bad things happen.”
“Like what?” Rhyley asked sceptically. “Fate throws a tantrum?”
“You’ll miss her,” Amelie told him. “Like you’ve never missed anything else. Your Phasing patterns will go haywire, you’ll fall into depression: you might ruin your whole life and hers too. You need her, Rhyley. And she needs you.”
“She insulted me,” Rhyley returned, suddenly angry with Amelie, not just for not understanding his avoidance of his soulmate, but also for agreeing so readily to leave him when he had announced his Wolf Dream. She reminded him of a time (although that time hadn’t ended very long ago) when girls had been easy, when he hadn’t been out of his depth with them and when them making him miserable would simply mean he stopped hanging out with them. “She told Roger Steelfang that I was a jerk who just wanted her for one thing. And it was pitiful anyway how she almost tried to run away when she found out we were soulmates. Like a pathetic coward.”
Amelie slapped him - hard.
“Ouch!” he cried, clutching his face. “What was that for?”
“You were being a jerk. How dare you be so insensitive? Did you think she would just accept werewolves and soulmates like that?” Amelie snapped her fingers. “And if Roger Steelfang was there, I assume he gave his view on your lifestyle first.”
“Yeah,” Rhyley muttered.
“Well, you’ve got to show this girl yourself what kind of guy you are. Or do you let Roger Steelfang influence everyone’s opinion of you?”
Amelie had hit the target dead centre. Rhyley felt grudging admiration for her.
“Of course not,” he muttered.
“Then talk to her.”
“She’s chaste,” Rhyley complained.
“Then find out why. And find common ground with her too. Start building a bond with her. Even if you just become friends. Sometimes a soulmate relationship needs time.”
“How do you know so much?” Rhyley wondered.
“I listen at the Alpha’s talks.”
There was a pause.
“So are you going to follow my advice?”
“I’ll talk to her on Monday,” Rhyley promised.
Amelie smiled, a hint of smug triumph in the sparkle of her eyes.
“But if she doesn’t want to talk to me, I don’t want you on my back.”
“Oh, no, you won’t stop there,” Amelie warned, serious again. “If she doesn’t want to talk to you, you persevere. You owe it to her to try your hardest.”
Rhyley sighed, knowing she was right. He was loath to admit it but he didn’t really want to hate his soulmate for the rest of his life.
“Fine, I will.”
Amelie nodded. She didn’t look triumphant now, just satisfied. And Rhyley was grateful. For their continued friendship, as well as for the frank advice.