“Welcome to Family Video, how can I help you?” It was almost a Pavlovian response for Betty at this point. She had been working at the movie rental store just off campus for only a few weeks, but it was tedious work. She learned everything she needed to know at a lightning pace, and therefore had it down to a science by the end of her first week.
She looked up as the bell on the door rang again, and her eyes met the most gorgeous stranger she had ever seen. He had dark hair and olive-toned skin with a littering of moles and freckles on his face. Meeting his eyes, she noticed they were a deep, stormy blue and Betty swore her heart skipped a beat.
“W-welcome to Family Video. How can I help you?” She stumbled over her words, frustrated with herself for being so flustered.
The boy flashed her a small smile, and her stomach exploded into butterflies. “I’m looking for a good date night movie that isn’t a rom-com, if that exists.” Betty’s heart plummeted. He had a girlfriend. “Y’know, something light but with an actual plot?”
Betty pretended to think for a moment. In reality, she was collecting herself. Why was this stranger throwing her through such a loop? Attractive people came in all the time, but none of them left her flustered like this. After an appropriate pause, she decided. “The Princess Bride is one of my all-time favorites. It’s still a rom-com, but there’s a lot of focus on the comedy part.”
“Why didn’t I think of that? It’s one of my favorites, too. Thank you so much,” he paused, waiting for her to supply her name.
“Thanks, Betty.” He left to grab the movie and came back to check out and set up his in-store account. “Do I need to use my legal name? Nobody uses it unless I’m in serious trouble.”
“You can use a nickname, I suppose. What do you want me to enter?”
“Jughead, all one word, spelled exactly as it sounds.”
Betty didn’t miss a beat. She was raised better than to be so rude.
“Okay the movie is due back in exactly one week. Enjoy your date,” Betty chirped as soon as the transaction was complete.
“I’ll try. Thanks again for the movie suggestion. My girlfriend is one of those people who loses their shit when they don’t get their way. I’m surprised she let me choose the movie this week.”
“Forgive me if I’m overstepping, but that doesn’t sound very healthy.” Betty saw discomfort flash in his eyes, and immediately regretted her comment. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to impose my opinion on you,” she spoke softly.
“No, no you’re fine,” he rushed. “I’m sure she’ll mellow out soon enough.”
At that, he was gone, leaving Betty alone with her inappropriate thoughts about the stranger. Damn it, she thought. I have a crush on someone with a girlfriend.
“Take me to bed, Juggie.” Sabrina was hanging onto Jughead’s neck with her legs wrapped around his waist. They hadn’t even managed to finish watching The Princess Bride before she decided it was time for bed.
Jughead knew he didn’t have a choice, and it really bothered him. Sure, most people would tell him he was insane. After all, he was having sex with a pretty girl. But having absolutely no control in their relationship was really wearing him down. And on top of that, Sabrina always left him feeling like a piece of garbage rather than a human being.
He knew he was in a toxic relationship, but there was no way out. Sabrina would just push herself back into his life if he tried to end things. There would have to be an extreme catalyst in order for him to make an exit.
She was just as intense in bed as she was throughout the rest of the day. Jughead would be already falling asleep on top of her before she was sated. It was starting to affect his daily life with the lack of sleep and increase of soreness. But if he didn’t perform to standard, Sabrina liked to hit him. The marks were never anywhere visible when he was clothed, but they were still there, taunting him.
The next morning, as they were laying in bed, Sabrina rolled over to face him.
“So, that was an interesting choice last night with the movie,” she began, running her finger down Jughead’s bare chest. “Where’d you get the idea?”
“I asked the girl at the video store for a suggestion. Did you like it?”
“Not at all. Who is this girl?” She was suddenly angry, and as a result, her long fingernail dug into his sternum.
“She works at the video store, like I just said,” he replied impatiently.
“What’s this girl’s name?” Her voice was terse and demanding.
“Betty, I think. Honestly, Sabrina. What’s gotten into you?”
Instead of an answer, he only found more pain where her first nail was joined by the others.
“Never mind, Jughead. It’s nothing,” she put on a sickly sweet voice, and it chilled Jughead to the bone. “Let’s have breakfast?”
He was saved from responding as his stomach growled at precisely the right moment.