He saw Sandra looking at the picture.
“This is ...” She sighed in admiration. “Wow. It’s amazing, Rhyley.”
“Thanks,” he muttered.
She looked up at him. He refused to meet her gaze.
“Listen, Rhyley, I’m sorry... it’s just... Nine. Nine girls other than me. I want so much to be yours and only yours but... how can I be with that sort of history?”
Rhyley put the drinks on two coasters on his desk. He sat on his bed and patted the space beside him. Sandra rose to her feet slowly, closing the book carefully and placing it on the office chair. She joined him, wondering if he was going to kiss her again.
“I know I can’t erase the past, Sandra, but your soulmate is special. And it won’t matter that I’ve slept with nine other girls: with you, it will be different. In fact it will be unique, and I’ll probably never want another girl again.”
Sandra swallowed, awed.
Rhyley continued talking.
“Sandra, the moments we’ve shared in the library have been ... indescribable. Inexplicably delightful. But I’d be lying right now if I told you that I didn’t want you. So ... could we have a moment where we were just physical?”
Sandra swallowed again, this time nervously.
“Just kissing?” she checked.
Rhyley smiled and, instead of replying, kissed her. He pushed her gently into his duvet, stroking one of her sides with surprising tenderness while his other hand held her shoulder. The kiss started off light and feather-soft but slowly became darker, more intense, till Sandra was being pressed into the bed, barely catching her breath between intoxicating kisses, one hand pushing into Rhyley’s nape to stop him coming up from it and also to push him closer into her even though his nose was squashed slightly against her face. A finger of her other hand hooked in a belt holder in his jeans and she pressed her body against his, moaning in pleasure and struck by shock as she felt desire course through her. One leg wrapped around Rhyley’s body and she tongued him, grasping the hair at the back of his neck, feeling wild and desperate but loving it at the same time. As her leg became something of a clamp around Rhyley, Sandra felt a concentration of stiffness press against her crotch. Suddenly she panicked, pushing against Rhyley’s chest, whimpering “Stop!”
Rhyley sat up, Sandra’s leg moving quickly to help him. Rhyley looked down at her, confused, hair ruffled, his chest rising and falling heavily.
“I ... I aroused you,” Sandra gasped. “Oh, gosh, I didn’t know I could do that.”
Sandra was breathing heavily, feeling like she was on fire. She wasn’t sure whether she was in a state of desire or terribly embarrassed.
“Rhyley, what happened?” she panted.
“Um... you got scared,” Rhyley answered. He looked at her face and Sandra realised he was refraining from looking up and down her body.
Sandra started to calm her breathing down, taking deep breaths and letting them out slowly.
“I... That was so good it was terrifying,” she confessed in awe.
Rhyley chuckled slightly.
“Good to know I’m scary.”
Sandra laughed shakily.
Rhyley frowned, confused.
He laid a hand against her forehead.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m not ill, Rhyley - I freaked out.”
“The ... chastity?” he asked, puzzled.
“No. I’m really not ready,” she told him. “I think the first time’s a big thing for anyone, isn’t it?”
Rhyley looked like he was concentrating.
“Oh, a bit, yeah,” he said, remembering his own first time, Sandra guessed. “I don’t take many virgins.”
Sandra looked away, uncomfortable at the reminder of the amount of girls he had had before knowing he was meant for her.
“Oh, sorry,” he said, realising.
Sandra shook her head slightly.
Rhyley moved off her and she sat up, looking at him.
“So... are you happier?” she asked.
“Much, thanks.” He kissed her forehead.
“Rhyley, Sandra, dinner!” called Mr Quentin from downstairs, interrupting the moment.
Sandra rose to her feet.
“Um, you might want to put a bit of cold water on your cheeks,” Rhyley suggested.
“Oh, am I flushed?” Sandra asked, blushing even more.
Rhyley ruffled her hair.
Sandra went to wash her hands and splash water over her face in the upstairs bathroom before joining Rhyley to walk downstairs.
She still couldn’t quite believe what she and Rhyley had just done. Even if it probably wasn’t much in terms of what you could do with a person, it had been big for her. Gosh, she didn’t even have a name for it. All she could think as she followed Rhyley down the stairs was that she mustn’t think about it too much during dinner. Else she’d blush visibly and cause her parents to become suspicious. And that couldn’t happen if Rhyley was to be introduced as her boyfriend at some point. So she thought of the moon drawing instead. She remembered what Roger had said at the new moon party: that she should ask Rhyley to take him with her when he went to do whatever it was he did at the full moon. But she couldn’t ask that here in front of her parents so she stored the thought away in her mind, making a mental note to ask him another time. Right now she had to think of polite, suitable conversation to make with him as they ate, pretending that this was the first time they had really met. What on earth to talk about?