Rhyley noticed Sandra watching him but didn’t say anything. He was feeling... disillusioned though he also felt as though he should have known better than to assume that Sandra touching his leg meant what his previous girlfriends touching his leg had meant. He had been stunned in the cinema when it had happened, and excited - it had seemed as though Sandra was becoming more comfortable about the physical in the same way that he was changing as he fell in love with her. But then she had been tense and he had realised that she still wasn’t at ease with being physical in a cinema auditorium.
But the thing was, Rhyley would have been okay about restricting the physical to time spent privately. What he had not been happy about was the unfortunate fact that Sandra had actually been communicating the wrong message. And he hadn’t been sure - as the rising excitement had turned into strong disappointment - that he could wait to go further physically as long as she needed him to. It was all very well to say that he thought he loved her beyond how he usually loved a girl, but the fact remained that he was a young person who reacted to the thought of a girl in his bed. At the peak of his wanting it, how could he cope with being denied it?
Simultaneously, conflictingly, he wanted to leave the restaurant and take a long walk until what had just happened didn’t bother him anymore or he thought of something which would distract him better, and kiss Sandra - half out of mad frustration and a wild belief that he could make her feel something so strong that she wanted to give into him, and half out of vengeance for imposing this situation on him, so bitter inside that he would happily show careless disregard for her hesitation and her chastity. He thought that the former was the better option, if impolite when the meal was still part of their date, but he didn’t know how he could excuse himself without upsetting her. She was clearly upset that she had caused this discontent in him, and she was perhaps only guilty of making a mistake and a personal choice which she hadn’t foreseen provoking such a big problem. But at the same time, he could think of nothing to say to her. The pair only spoke to order their 15 inch ‘Half-and-Half’ pizza and drinks when the waiter came to the table, and when deciding to each pay half of the bill for the meal.
Rhyley stood and listened vaguely as Sandra called her mother to come and collect them, now on the pavement in front of the restaurant. He really didn’t want to have to endure a journey in the same vehicle as Sandra but at the same time he didn’t want Sandra to have to answer awkward questions from her mother, who would also be confused if it seemed like the two had had an awful date and yet still wanted to hang out (Rhyley knew that this wasn’t the end of their relationship; he felt obliged to continue to honour their soulmate status now that they had begun).
At the end of Sandra’s phone call to her mother, he felt it necessary to at last say something; the words he chose were “We’re not over... unless you want us to be.” The addition was hesitant, a thought that had occurred to him just as he was speaking.
Sandra looked surprised by the first part and hurt by the idea of the second.
“No, I don’t want us to be over. I thought you might.”
“It’s complicated. I’m not going to stop wanting you, Sandra, but we’re still soulmates. It’s not like I suddenly hate you.”
“You really mean that?” Sandra asked quietly, looking at the ground. She sounded like she had honestly believed that her mistake could have meant the end of them.
And Rhyley, despite the disillusionment, despite the elephant of a problem that Sandra’s chastity had created, walked up to his soulmate and put his arms around her to comfort her.
“Yes,” he said, resting his chin on her head. “I really do.”