They walked back inside. In the living room, where Ben, a werewolf in year 11 called Kayla and the tipsy-looking Amelie and Natalie were dancing with the lights dimmed, they made a silent mutual decision to split up. Sandra shrugged off the blazer, returned it to Rhyley, found Roger and went to sit with him while Rhyley caught sight of Jonah leaning against a wall with a cup in his hand and went over to him. As he walked over, he thought about Sandra kissing him: the surprise and the surprising pleasure of it. She still wasn’t the hottest girl on the planet but at least she was only plain rather than downright ugly. He could live with plain if she was prepared to kiss him ... and do other things with him. He thought of the way she had told him ‘I don’t know much’: her naivety amused him, but it had also been slightly endearing.
“Where have you been?” Jonah asked as Rhyley reached him, a grin on his face.
“Outside,” Rhyley replied simply.
“I like your style - the girl gets cold and needs warming up, and there’s no one else there to disturb the moment.”
Rhyley smiled slightly in amusement.
“Yes, it would be like that if Sandra wasn’t chaste.”
Rhyley wasn’t resentful towards Sandra in light of the recent kiss, but Jonah, not knowing this, frowned slightly in sympathy.
“Oh, yeah, you told me she was chaste. Did she tell you why?”
“Yeah but it was complicated. I couldn’t repeat her exact words.”
“Oh... But did you try to dissuade her?”
“Well, she gets uncomfortable if I try to bring sex up, so I don’t think it’s really worth it.”
“Bad luck, mate.”
“Where’s Willis?” Rhyley wondered.
“Probably making out with Christa in his car somewhere.”
“Mm-hm, she’s one gorgeous chick.”
“Great in bed too,” Rhyley said casually.
“You’d know,” Jonah replied, amused. “Does Sandra know your dating history?”
“Not the names of the girls but Roger told her my dating style.”
“How does she feel about it?”
It struck Rhyley that he hadn’t actually asked Sandra that.
“You know what? I’m not altogether sure.”
At that moment the doorbell rang and Jonah, who was closest, opened it to find Willis and his girlfriend (a girl with pale blonde hair, almost snow white skin and very dark brown eyes who had been Rhyley’s girlfriend once too), Christa - also the older sister of the dancing girl Kayla who was very similar in appearance - on the doorstep. Willis couldn’t stop grinning while Christa looked casual and unashamed.
“You two have fun on the way here?” Jonah asked, winking.
“You need to get a girlfriend, Jonah,” Willis told him. He looked at Christa. “And you need to get one like Christa.”
Christa smirked but didn’t comment. Instead she turned to Rhyley.
“I heard your soulmate’s here. Which one is she?”
Rhyley pointed at Sandra.
“How’ve you been coping with her unattractiveness?”
Rhyley gazed into Christa’s eyes. Beautiful to make love to, but cursed with a catty side.
“Oh, you know, by seducing her.”
Christa smiled calmly as she said, “I don’t believe you.”
“Well, that’s your choice, isn’t it?”
“Prove it,” Christa dared him. “Walk up to her, pull her to her feet and kiss her.”
“I think she’s had enough tonight,” Rhyley said evasively.
“Knew it,” Christa said airily. Rhyley internally kicked himself, irritated that he had even tried to portray Sandra as a girl similar to Christa, Amelie and the other girls he’d dated for their looks and indifference to casual relations. “Right, Willis, I’m going to dance with Natalie and Amelie. See you 'round.”
“See you.” The couple shared a kiss before the girl walked off to join her girlfriends. Willis watched her go, eyes lingering on her curves.
“I am the luckiest guy on Earth,” he murmured. He looked at Rhyley. “How could you end it with her, mate?”
“She ended it with me. But that meant I could go out with Amelie, didn’t it?”
“True,” Willis said.
“But then I had the Wolf Dream and I had to end it with Amelie,” Rhyley murmured. “Life sucks, sometimes, doesn’t it?”
“Oh, agreed,” said Jonah, sounding vaguely like he’d been through a ton of moments where his life had sucked.
“Yeah, definitely,” said Willis, though he sounded slightly absent and insincere - probably because he himself couldn’t empathise with Rhyley at this moment.
“Hopefully it’ll get better,” offered Jonah.
Rhyley nodded. Smiling slightly, he said, “Yeah. There’s time yet for you to taste your first girl.”
Willis chuckled and Jonah reddened, looking at the floor, muttering “Yeah, yeah.”