Chapter 9Mature

Sandra (20): Fixable?

Sandra went to her room feeling cold inside. Rhyley hadn’t cheated - which she was immensely relieved about - but neither had his actions been completely harmless and inconsequential. He had stopped himself from committing a real crime... but only after a talking to.

Sandra lay down on her bed and stared at the ceiling, a haunting question on her mind - what if Amelie hadn’t said anything? She dreaded to think of the bleak, black chasms she’d be falling through now, knowing that her soulmate had made love to another girl. Rhyley had come close - scarily close- and it was only Sandra’s belief that her life would only be complete with her soulmate that was keeping her from cutting him off completely.

***

That night, Sandra had a dream that she forgot when she woke up in the morning, although she remembered vague feelings of fear and despair.  When she remembered that it was Monday today she wondered what would happen. Two weeks ago today she had learnt that she had a soulmate. Last week Rhyley had used his New Moon energy to make her kiss him against her will. Would this week begin with a good or a bad day?

Sandra breakfasted and showered, dressing in a dress-top and leggings. She absently searched for and found the refill pad that she and Rhyley had decorated with a sketch of a wolf each, their possible married name and other random doodles. She found herself looking into the eye of Rhyley’s wolf and imagining loping easily through a sunlit forest. She put the pad away and went downstairs to watch TV.

At about 11 o’clock, Rhyley came to call. Sandra answered the door to find him standing outside holding a plastic bag.

“Someone couldn’t stay away,” Sandra said, amused - though secretly she was pleased to see him as well.

Rhyley smiled nervously.

“I bought you some things.”

“Things plural?”

Rhyley blushed slightly.

“Well, only two.”

“Let’s see, then,” Sandra said smiling.

First, Rhyley produced a fake rose. Sandra felt a sinking feeling of disappointment.

“I know it’s more romantic to buy a real one,” he said sheepishly, “but this will last forever and you don’t have to do anything to look after it.”

In light of yesterday, Sandra couldn’t help but ask Are we a fake rose? Destined to last forever, but without any obligation to look after the relationship?”

Rhyley looked pained.

“That’s not what I meant by buying it; it was meant to show you that I ... care about you. Enough to buy you romantic symbols.”

Sandra sighed slightly.

“Rhyley, love isn’t about gifts.” She gently took the rose from him. “But thank you. And I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” he mumbled. “I don’t know much about love and what people do when in love.”

Sandra leant forwards to kiss his hair.

“They share things - beautiful moments, facts about themselves, kisses...”

Rhyley met her gaze, smiling slightly.

“Well, we’ve shared a few of those, haven’t we?”

“Mm-hm.”

Rhyley pulled the next item out of the bag. It was a necklace, still looped through its paper holder so that it could be put on hooks in a store. An ‘S’ hung on the chain, made of silver metal and embedded with small light blue gems.

“Aww, Rhyley,” Sandra said softly. “I love it.”

“Could I put it on you?” Rhyley asked shyly.

“Sure.”

Rhyley pulled the paper holder gently apart to get the necklace out and Sandra turned around, pulling her ponytail to one side. The cool metal came around her neck and then she felt the light brush of Rhyley’s warm fingers at her nape - which suddenly felt sensitised - as he re-clasped it. She turned back to see Rhyley watching her slightly intensely.

“Can I kiss you?” he asked quietly.

Sandra thought about the yawning chasms that had been narrowly avoided, the loss of Rhyley which could have been the result of a different set of events yesterday. She imagined Amelie Stoke holding hands with her Rhyley and said “No”, stepping out of the porch to beat him to it, kissing him passionately. She wanted him and needed him and he was hers.

Rhyley held her tightly and she could feel his apology as he responded. The kiss was almost beautifully sweet, and achingly full of desperate emotion. Sandra pressed herself against Rhyley, needing to feel the solidness of the relationship that would continue; holding his shoulders almost as if she were about to use them as something of a springboard.

Rhyley pulled away, surprising her. He was breathing heavily.

“Sandra, Sandra, hold it.”

Sandra opened her eyes and realised that she had been silently crying.

Rhyley stroked her back.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he told her gently.

“You’d better not be,” she returned, mildly aggressively, wiping her tears away with the back of one hand. She felt strongly possessive of him.

“No - I can see that you need me. Listen, let’s hang out today. Do something other than just kissing. Something...” He paused. “Beautiful.” He looked sheepish as he asked, “Do you have any ideas?”

Sandra thought about it, thought about ideas that she’d had when she’d fantasised about her perfect romance.

“How about we go for a walk together?” she suggested.

“A walk.” Rhyley smiled. “That sounds great.”

Sandra went inside to find her mother and told her that she was going out for a walk with Rhyley. Her mother looked delighted.

“Have fun, darling,” she said as Sandra went upstairs to get ready, mentioning it briefly to her curious father along the way.

Sandra put the fake rose away in her bedroom and came downstairs with a jacket on and her phone in one pocket. She left the house, closing the front door behind her and smiled at Rhyley who had been waiting outside for her.

“Ready to go then?”

Rhyley smiled back.

“Yep, let’s go.”

The End

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