He didn’t try to find her. Not for the rest of Monday, nor on Tuesday. Not even after Amelie approached him at break time on Wednesday and demanded why she hadn’t seen him with her.
“I can’t,” he had told her simply. “She’s just... too much. A girl like that could drive you crazy.”
“So you’re scared of her now?” Amelie had accused.
Rhyley had looked straight into her eyes, feeling his own burn with anger, and replied, “Yes, Amelie, yes I am.”
And Amelie’s eyes had widened and she had stepped back slightly and said, “Oh.” Just ‘Oh’. Rhyley had been relieved that she couldn’t see any advice to give in the light of that, though angry too: still angry. He had turned and stridden off, too angry to even try to continue the conversation.
So now he sat in the tree house he had played in as a little boy, watching the sun set on the western horizon. It was Thursday afternoon and he still felt lost and confused. Why had Fate made Sandra his soulmate? Was there a reason for anything? As night fell, he trudged back indoors and went to his bedroom. Tomorrow was the last chance of talking to Sandra this week. Would he?
Rhyley thought to the days after tomorrow. Next Monday night was the night of the new moon and on Sunday this week the Alpha would be holding the customary new moon party for the wolves of his pack... and their soulmates. He should, for the sake of tradition, invite Sandra along. But how could he invite her to a party when he didn’t even know if he could talk to her again? It was all one major headache. And it was he who had to act, to make the next move...
Unless he asked Roger to take her from him. Roger would make a so much better soulmate for her: he would try to understand her chastity - and would cope better with her complexity, Rhyley bet. But Roger’s soulmate would lose out, and Rhyley might never feel complete. Plus, letting Roger make Sandra his was like giving up and giving in to Roger: two prospects that Rhyley hated strongly.
This was more than a headache - it was a migraine. But Rhyley had to make a decision. For his sake, if not for Sandra’s.
“Sandra, I can’t make you any promises, but I’m not going to let Steelfang make you his. There’s a party on Sunday because there’ll be a new moon next Monday night. We ... we should go to that - it’s werewolf tradition. Will you come?”
It was Friday and Rhyley had caught up with Sandra after Citizenship.
Sandra had looked hopeful at his appearance at first but now was frowning slightly.
“You can’t make me any promises... yet you want me to come to a party with you?”
“I know - it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?”
“Unfair too,” Sandra pointed out.
“Maybe ... maybe I can’t understand you right at once, Sandra. But ... maybe if we stick it out, things will fall into place. There has to be a reason we’re together, don’t you think? Don’t you think that it would be too much if Fate gave werewolves soulmates who were all wrong for them?”
“I don’t know. Depends on if Fate is cruel.”
“I can’t live my life that cynical,” Rhyley told her. “I need to try to make this work. All right?”
“...All right,” Sandra replied hesitantly.
“So come with me? Sunday?”
“Where is it?” Sandra asked.
“Steelfang’s house. If you get him to pick you up I can just meet you there. Then it’s not awkward with your parents wondering who I am.”
“Wouldn’t your parents wonder who I am?” Sandra asked, frowning in confusion.
Rhyley made a wry face.
“They ... stopped asking a little while ago.”
“Oh...” Sandra said, her eyes showing that she realised what he meant by that.
“Yeah,” he said uncomfortably. “...So I’ll see you there then?”
“Yeah...” Sandra murmured. “See you there.”
Rhyley nodded and walked off, finding Jonah and Willis. He had made the right choice, he thought. He vaguely believed what he had said to Sandra - that things would fall into place. It was definitely true that he didn’t dare to live the rest of his life in despair that Fate was a cruel entity. And perhaps, despite Sandra’s complexity and Rhyley’s uncertainty, Sunday would be fun. After all, a party was a party.