Happily, both boys turned up at the bowling alley. If Sandra was honest with herself, she had half feared that they would accept her invitation and then simply not appear, even though one was her soulmate and the other one her best friend. Rhyley was the first.
“Do I have to do this?” he sighed as he met her after parking his car outside the building where she was standing in wait.
“I’d be really happy if you did,” she said, reaching out to stroke his face.
Rhyley leaned in and kissed her, warming her insides.
“I’m only doing it because I love you,” he murmured as he drew back. He stroked her hair, tucking a loose strand behind her ear.
Roger arrived then. Sandra hadn’t even notice him driving up. But one second Rhyley was touching her hair and the next, Roger was standing with them.
“Hi,” he said, sounding tense.
“Hi, Roger,” Sandra said, smiling. “Thanks for coming.”
“You’re welcome,” he said quietly. He looked at Rhyley. “Don’t think I haven’t forgotten Sunday. You did something even if Sandra doesn’t think you cheated.”
Rhyley, in a tone that was rather cool, replied “And don’t you think I’m happy about you kissing my soulmate.”
Sandra sighed sadly.
Roger sighed too.
“Sorry, Sandra. It’s just ... Rhyley is unworthy of you.”
“And you’ve agreed not to interfere, so you might as well just leave it alone, mightn’t you?”
Roger sighed again.
“I guess. It’ll be difficult... but I’ll try.” He looked at Rhyley. “If you really do care about Sandra, I guess that makes us the same on one level.”
“Of course I care about her,” Rhyley said, glaring.
“Rhyley, he’s trying to make peace with you,” Sandra said in exasperation.
Rhyley looked like he really didn’t want to be any sort of bigger man and put aside his anger.
Roger interrupted the silence, his face suddenly serious.
“But wait, there’s one thing I’d ask of you, Rhyley - just one. As Sandra’s best friend, I feel obliged to ask that you’ll never hurt her again. Ever.”
Rhyley folded his arms.
“I won’t,” he said stonily. “I don’t need you to patronise me, or look down on me from your moral high ground - I love her and I am perfectly competent in this relationship.”
Roger looked like he wanted to make a retort but held it back.
“Fine. Prove it to me.”
“I will,” Rhyley said crossly. “While we’re giving each other ‘advice’, might I ask you to refrain from ever kissing Sandra again? If a wolf’s allowed to ask that of his Alpha’s son, that is.”
“That’s fine,” Roger said readily. “I wasn’t meant to kiss her and I accept that. I’m sorry.”
Rhyley ignored him and looked to Sandra.
Sandra was biting her lip on a grin at how both boys were so determined to hate each other but were both ultimately concerned about her happiness. It was flattering, albeit strange and a bit of a novelty. She also had the sense that it was undeserved, which arose from her failure to see what was so special about her.
“Yes,” she told Rhyley. “Thank you.” Her eyes met Roger’s, and then Rhyley’s again. “Thank you both,” she said sincerely. “I’m really grateful you’re both making an effort for me.” She let herself smile. “Now let’s go and do some bowling.”