At the start of last period, Rhyley walked over to the library. To his surprise he saw that Roger and Sandra were both there but sitting at different tables. He went to sit beside the latter and murmured, “You know Roger’s here, right?”
Sandra looked up at Rhyley, pained.
“He got offended that I didn’t tell him that I kissed you yesterday.”
Sandra looked back at the book she was reading.
“It doesn’t matter.”
But he could tell that it did.
“You want me to go say something to him?”
Sandra looked up, frowning.
“Don’t you two hate each other?”
“If he won’t talk to you...”
“That’s very kind, Rhyley, but honestly I think it’s better to wait for him to cool off by himself.”
“Oh right.” Rhyley got out the work that he needed to be doing. He was surprised when he felt the cool brush of lips against his cheek. He looked at Sandra, astonished. “What was that for?”
Sandra grinned at his amazement.
“For offering to talk to Roger, silly.”
She looked down at her book again.
Rhyley decided to work, fearing that if he tried to say or do anything he would only ruin the moment.
At one point, Sandra leaned against Rhyley’s shoulder. She was still reading her book but Rhyley felt her need for comfort. He gently stroked the small of her back. She looked up at him and Rhyley felt strongly that it was the perfect moment to kiss her. But they were in the library - it wasn’t appropriate - and so instead he forced himself to look back at his work. Sandra sat up, continuing to read but when Rhyley snuck a glance in her direction, he saw that her cheeks were red. ‘Maybe she felt it too,’ he thought.
Ten minutes before the end of school, Rhyley asked, “How d’you get home?”
“My dad drives us,” Sandra answered.
“D’you want to ask if I can drive you home tomorrow?”
Sandra smiled wryly.
“My parents haven’t met you yet, remember?” In fact, Rhyley had forgotten. “And they won’t let me be driven by a school friend anyway. Too worried there’ll be an accident.”
“We’ve got to sort out how and when to introduce you to them. It’ll look suspicious me just bringing you home one night saying ‘This is my boyfriend’.”
Rhyley looked at her intently, latching onto the last word.
Sandra blushed as she realised what she had said.
“Well... that’s what you are, isn’t it?” she asked, blushing even more deeply. “Now that I’ve kissed you?”
Rhyley shrugged, strongly amused.
“You tell me.”
Sandra looked at the sheet of paper she had been writing on.
“I think you are. Even despite this morning.”
Rhyley smiled slightly. Sandra was sweet. He found her endearing, like he had when she had said ‘I don’t know much’, again.
“Well, all couples fight.”
Sandra smiled slightly too.
“Yeah. That’s true.”
Rhyley drove home, a little distracted by thoughts of Sandra. She had... a really soft, sincere personality. She was really quite vulnerable. She didn’t want to move as quickly as he’d like with the physical... but that was who she was, really. He could feel it, as a kind of mental art piece using feelings and memories: the way that her different personality traits were entwined to form her essence. He felt a little softer when he thought about her. He could tell that her sweetness was part of what made him want to try again, which was surprising because he would have expected that wanting her kisses played a bigger part. But there was no way to be cruel to a girl like that - especially if, like Rhyley, you weren’t at heart a cruel person. He wondered how this would all turn out. After those ... quite touching moments in the library, the outlook seemed favourable. If he could resist kissing her twice in one afternoon, if he could comfort her and know when to stay quiet, well that was the beginning of respecting her and it was probably earning him her trust to a greater extent than he knew.
‘I can do this,’ Rhyley thought, determined. ‘I know I can.’