Sandra (23): Roger's Persistence
Sandra felt hopeful. She had been worried while dialling Roger’s number that he would flatly refuse to come over, too annoyed to want to talk reasonably. But his pleasantly surprising agreement to come had made her optimistic. She could be Rhyley’s soulmate and Roger’s best friend at the same time. If Rhyley’s and Roger’s friendship was too much to ask, the former was all she wanted. As she was waiting for Roger to arrive, she found the Scrabble game and made space on her desk for them to play on it. Within an amount of time that didn’t leave room for Sandra to become anxious or begin to regret her decision to call Roger, there was a ring on the doorbell and Sandra arrived downstairs to find her mother letting Roger in.
“How’ve you been, Mrs Longmorrow?” Roger asked, in his characteristic, easy-around-parents way.
“I’ve been well, thanks,” Sandra’s mother replied. “And you?”
“I’ve been good.”
“Hey,” Sandra called, feeling slightly, unnecessarily shy. She noticed Roger was carrying an old-looking book under one arm and wondered what it was about, and what its significance for their hanging out together was.
Roger smiled at her and she felt like nothing had ever gone wrong in their friendship.
“Well, I’ll let you two have your fun,” Sandra’s mum said, smiling as well. She walked past Sandra, heading for a different downstairs room in the house.
“Um, let’s go, then,” Sandra said, and turned, leading Roger upstairs.
Roger was quiet until they reached her bedroom. He walked over to the desk and put the book down.
“What’s that?” Sandra asked, curiously. “Why’ve you brought it?”
“This,” Roger said, resting one hand on the book, “is a book about werewolves. And I’ll tell you why I brought it, but you mustn’t get cross.”
Sandra became wary.
“Get cross?” She instantly realised what this was about. “Oh, Roger,” she said, quite upset, “I thought you wanted to make up.”
“I do,” he insisted. “Sandra, I hate being mad at you: I hate you being mad at me. But just hear me out, all right?”
Sandra went to sit at the foot of her bed, not sure what to say. All she could think was that she was disappointed in Roger, and by his one-track-minded stubbornness. All the hope she had been feeling earlier dissipated, leaving her feeling cold.
“All right?” Roger asked gently.
“No,” Sandra said quietly. “It’s not. How could it be? You want to take Rhyley away from me.”
Roger came to sit beside her.
“Sandra...,” he started.
“Don’t try to tell me he doesn’t care about me,” she said angrily. “Don’t try to tell me that every word he says is a lie, that nothing means anything to him, because you’re wrong. I love him, Roger, and he loves me.”
“Sandra, he cheated on you. Don’t you care about that? Don’t you have any self-respect anymore...”
“He didn’t cheat,” Sandra interrupted, feeling sick. “He told me. And I believe him.”
“Then what happened?” Roger asked, folding his arms. His tone was now a challenge. “He and Amelie hung out? Like good friends? Amelie was his girlfriend before he had the Wolf Dream, Sandra.”
“He didn’t cheat!” Sandra repeated, half wanting to lash out at Roger for being so stubborn and infuriating.
“But he didn’t say what did happen? Or you just don’t want to tell me? Because I’m ‘the enemy’ now. Has he turned you against me?”
Sandra stood up.
“No! You’ve done that yourself. What were you even hoping to achieve, coming over to my house with your stupid ‘book about werewolves’? I’m staying with Rhyley!”
Roger stood up too and he looked her straight in the eye.
“I was going to tell you about the ceremony you perform to change your soulmate. I was going to tell you I was better for you. I still think I’m better for you than that piece of scum-”
“Don’t you dare insult my soulmate!”
“He insulted you!” Roger exclaimed incredulously. “You seem to have forgotten that! He went upstairs with Amelie Stoke!”
“He didn’t do anything,” Sandra insisted, pained. “He stopped himself!”
“Is that what he told you?” Roger asked softly.
Sandra looked at her carpet, tears coming to her eyes.
“I... Why would he lie? If I really meant so little to him, why would he lie?”
Roger walked up to her and put his arms around her. She didn’t return the embrace but she didn’t push him away either. Yesterday with Rhyley had felt like the best day in their relationship so far. But now Roger was bringing up the feelings from Sunday again - the doubt, the fear, the agony.
“Who knows how the minds of these jerks work, Sandra?”
“I don’t believe it,” she whispered. “We’re in love - you should’ve been there yesterday, Roj. He talked about togetherness and connection...”
Roger stroked her arm.
“Lies,” he murmured. “He just wants to sleep with ...”
“But I don’t think he does,” Sandra interrupted. “He never tries to take me anywhere private, he never pushes it when we kiss...”
“He’s getting you to trust him.”
“Roger, he’s not a bad guy.”
“Sandra, I know you must be feeling like Rhyley’s the only one who can make you feel complete,” Roger said quietly. “But he’s not. Sandra...” He hesitated. “Rhyley’s ... been with lots of girls.” Sandra froze, wondering what was coming next. “I ... I haven’t. I think... I think he’s always going to be tempted by you, and no, I’m not trying to deny that I have those sorts of feelings, but ... I think I could restrain myself more.”
“Roger, you don’t know that,” Sandra said softly. She wasn’t cross anymore, just sad. Sad that Roger wasn’t listening: sad that he honestly thought he was better for her, which was ultimately why he was acting like this.
“But we could work at it together,” he said quietly. “And at the end, if we got married, it would be the first time for both of us.”
Sandra gently but firmly pushed him away.
“Roger, stop. What you’re saying, it’s sweet, and I know you’re only thinking of me, but ... you’re my best friend. Not a guy I fancy. And ... not Rhyley.”
“I could be your soulmate,” Roger persisted. “You don’t know, Sandra - you might grow to like it. We might be happy together.”
Roger leant in and kissed her. Sandra froze, shocked into paralysis. ...