Betty sat crying in the closet, knees pulled up to her chest, the denim of her jeans jamming into her cheeks as her tears soaked them. Her longest dresses kept batting into the back of her head while she rocked. She tried to be quiet - she didn't want Jughead to hear. It wasn't his fault . . .
That first time he had responded to physical stimulation it was bad times. They had just been innocently cuddling on the couch, watching TV at their new place, finally free of their parents. They were adults now and they were reveling in the thrill of making it on their own – together.
He had his arms around her as she lay on top of him, and they shared the softest of kisses, which was no longer an uncommon occurrence. It had taken years before he had even been comfortable kissing her . . . but he was happy they could now, glad they could share that one intimacy.
But then something happened. He knew she felt it too, lying on top of him like that. He started to panic. "Betty, get off me!"
She was too slow. Too close. He didn't want to be touched. He almost shoved her off of him.
"Jug, are you okay?" her eyes were frantic as she reached for him.
"No!" he yelled and quickly backed away from her. He started pacing in front of the TV, agitatedly running his hands through his hair.
"Juggie, it's okay, it happens."
"No," he said as his chin started to quiver. "Not to me. This can't happen to me."
And then the tears started coming.
"Jug," Betty reached out for him and helped break his fall to the floor as he dropped to his knees. He wailed in her arms as she held him, rocked him, cradled his head. "Shhh . . . Juggie. Someday it will be alright. Someday it will be okay.."
"I . . . I can't," he said, sounding strangled. "I can't go back there. I can't do it!"
"You don't have to," Betty said quietly.
"But when this happened before . . ." he gulped before continuing. "She told me I wanted it, Betty. That I wanted her and her disgusting . . . "
"I didn't want it," he balled up his fists and slammed them into his sides. "I didn't want it. I don't ever want it. Please don't make me."
"Jug," Betty said, making him look at her, running a thumb along his cheek to wipe away the tears. "I'll NEVER make you. Ever."
That just brought more tears and he hugged her fiercely. Whispering into her hair he asked, "Promise?"
"Yeah, Juggie, I promise. You don't ever have to do that again. No matter how your body responds."
And now here they were, many months later. Almost a year in fact. With Betty crying in the closet. She felt so unloved. She knew why Jughead would turn away at the slightest inkling of getting too close – if he got excited at all he was a wreck – but it still hurt like hell to be rejected over and over and over again.
Innocent kisses were interrupted and he would abruptly shove her away. If she hugged him too close, in the wrong way – which she was still trying to figure out what that even was – he would promptly disengage. He wasn't even excited when these things would happen. She wasn't even really sure he COULD get excited most of the time - he was just afraid of the possibility. Terrified.
But it made her feel so alone, so disconnected from him. Sure, their brains connected and they could talk about anything. He would tell her he loved her, and he supported her, he defended her. But a huge piece was missing. There were times she ached to get closer to him. To feel him touch her in ways that were more than platonic, more than just gentle kissing.
He passed by their room on the way to the bathroom and heard the quiet sobbing. He poked his head in and didn't see her.
But then he heard it, from behind the closet door. Another sob.
"Betty?" he said, and walked in to their room.
"Go away!" she screeched.
"Betty? Are you - ?"
"Go the fuck away, Jughead I mean it!" She sobbed loudly before continuing. "I want to be alone. Just leave me the fuck alone!"
"Okay," he said softly, but he didn't mean it. He sat down on the floor and leaned back against the wall nearest the closet door. He just sat there silently and waited - deciding to stay until she was all cried out. He had no intention of leaving her alone like this.