As she finished the last drops of her hot chocolate, wincing slightly at the sweetest part of the liquid at the bottom of the glass, Sandra watched Rhyley. He had taken the menu out of the holder in the centre of the table and was reading it, not seeming to mind the silence between them, which, after all, wasn’t uncomfortable. She wiped her mouth with the napkin provided by the café and murmured, “I’m done.”
Rhyley looked up and smiled, placing the menu back in its holder.
“I’ll get a waiter.”
When the next one passed their table Rhyley caught her attention and told her they were ready for the bill. While they waited, he asked Sandra “Was it good?”
“Yeah,” she replied, smiling. “Thanks so much. I’ll bring money next time and treat you.”
“I look forward to it.”
The bill arrived on a plate, reading ‘£2.00’ and Rhyley placed two pound coins on it. The pair stood up and made their way out.
“Thank you again, Rhyley,” Sandra said as they stepped outside. “I hope we can do this again some time.”
“Of course,” he said, smiling warmly. “We have forever, don’t we?”
Sandra’s heart soared and she kissed him there and then on the pavement. She would have deepened it, wilfully ignoring the fact that they were in full view of anyone who passed them in the street, but Rhyley pulled away and ruffled her hair.
“I think that’s enough, darling.”
Sandra noted absently that Rhyley had never called her ‘darling’ before and feeling a slight spark of pleasure at the debut of the use of that endearment. She sighed slightly sadly at the obligation to stop kissing.
“I wish there were ... public private kissing places.” She blushed slightly, aware of the ridiculousness of the notion, even though she was expressing a sincere desire. “I could spend hours with you there. I’d take you to my bedroom in my house, but I don’t think my parents would be happy about it. And I like kissing you when I want to - in the heat of the moment. Wait, that’s an expression usually used negatively, isn’t it?”
Rhyley smiled slightly and said, “In the context I think it’s pretty apt.”
Sandra bit her lip.
“I’d take you quiet places in my car but you’ve said you’re not allowed to travel with me when I’m driving. Look, the next time we hang out, you can come round my place. Then we can kiss for however long you want, 'cause my parents won’t mind me taking you to my room.”
“Tomorrow?” Sandra suggested, semi-consciously stepping more into his space at the thought of free, uninhibited kissing and closeness.
“Actually, we’re seeing my grandma tomorrow,” he said regretfully.
Sandra couldn’t help but feel strong amusement at the thought of this; “Rhyley the bad boy visiting his grandmother?” she teased.
Rhyley regarded her calmly and casually replied, “Perhaps ‘Rhyley the bad boy’ will want to try to reset his reputation when he returns from this uncharacteristic gesture of benevolence.”
Sandra bit her lip at the subtle intensity of his gaze and the implication of his words.
“If you want,” she murmured. “As long as it’s not too terrible.”
“Oh, no, you can’t say that. The clue’s in the word ‘bad’.”
Sandra sighed, though it was only lightly. A bit too nervous to accept Rhyley resetting his reputation, she said “Fine, I’m sorry for teasing you.” As she said it she thought that perhaps she was being silly and too careful, overreacting to the idea of Rhyley playing the bad boy as if he would take the opportunity to try to make love to her, but she saw no way to take it back that wasn’t embarrassing and so left it there.
“That’s okay.” There was a glint of amusement in Rhyley’s eyes. “So, we’re on for Wednesday, yeah?” he checked.
“If our parents agree to it, yes.”
“Cool. Shall we walk back to yours then?”
“Yup. Though let’s make it a long walk.”
Sandra took Rhyley’s hand - which was compliant and happy to be taken - and they proceeded to walk to her house at an indulgently leisurely pace.