“So,” Reggie drops his hand on Archie's shoulder, careful to keep his voice casual, “who’s name did you pull?”
Archie gives him his usual glance, like he's always second guessing what he's about to say.
(It's a mystery how Andrews managed to bag so many hot girls.)
“Uh. Its called Secret Santa for a reason, Reg.” Archie pauses, “Who'd you get?”
Reggie got stuck with the Red Queen, but he wasn't going to be the first one to spill.
“You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine.”
Archie sighs then admits, “I got Betty.”
All Reggie could hear was not Josie. “Thanks for nothing Andrews.”
He stops at her locker and Cheryl immediately puts up her hand.
“Save it, Mantle. I'm not trading names with you. Lord forbid I have to spend a penny on Mr. or Mrs. Hobo.”
She's sounds mad and Reggie feels like it has something to do with him. Which doesn't make sense since he mostly stayed out of Cheryl's radar.
She slams her locker shut, turns her nose up at him as she walks past him, bumping his shoulder purposely.
“Hey, girl.” He slides into the seat next to her during class after the teacher orders them to pair us up.
Veronica glances at him briefly before returning her attention to the game of 8-ball she was playing on her phone.
“Hey. Hey.” Reggie pokes her repeatedly with his pen, “I'm talking to you.”
“What do you want, Reggie?”
The way she spat her words out like venom may have made him flinch on any other day, but today he was a man on a mission.
“I want a lot of things, but one thing in particular. I know it was you that pulled Josie's name. I'm willing to make a trade.”
“And why do you want Josie's name?”
Ugh, did he need to spell it out?
Veronica outright laughs at him.
“I'm glad you find this so hilarious.”
Veronica places her hand on his arm, “I'm sorry, its just unexpected. But, I'm glad someone around here is having a good love life.”
“So, that means you're going to give me her name, right?”
Veronica shakes her head no.
Reggie frowns, waving his hands around in a incredulous manner, “Why the hell not?”
“Because I didn't pick her name. However, I wish you luck on your quest Romeo.”
He didn't need luck. He just needed one frickin’ name.
He drives to the mall the next day and goes in and out of different shops. He wasn't exactly sure what to get her.
He spins at the sound of his name to see Keller waving him over. He walks over to him, hands shoved in his pocket.
“Last minute shopping?”
Kevin nods at his question. “I'd figure I'd send my mom something while she's away. You?”
“There's this girl and I'm trying to get her something nice.”
Kevin faintly remembers Archie mentioning Reggie bugging him about something. Kevin decides he can be of some help.
“Well, what does she like?”
Reggie shrugs. He was trying to keep it vague, but no such luck.
“She has a thing for cats.”
Kevin nods, lips quirking up in amusement, “Is there anything else she likes?”
Reggie takes a minute to think it over, “She likes to sing. That's pretty much all I know.”
Kevin takes him by the hand and leads him to the Home Decor store, stopping once they reach the cashier.
“Do you have anything with cats? Like a snow globe or something?”
The lady nods, reaching down and placing the snow globe on the counter, “Is this good enough?”
“Great. That'll be $7.69.”
Reggie pulls his debit card out of pocket to pay for it.
“No problem,” Kevin responds. “I think Josie will love it.”
Kevin leans in for a hug and Reggie returns it before they go their separate ways.
When Reggie gets back home, he finds a folded up piece of paper in the front pocket of his hoodie. On it is Josie's name in big bold letters.
Fucking Kevin Keller.
Josie raises an eyebrow at Kevin's excited smile, but obliges him nonetheless.
She places the box in her lap then begins to unwrap the bow slowly.
Reggie tries to relax in his seat.
Josie pulls the lid off and reaches inside the box to pull out her gift. A Hello Kitty snow globe.
(There's a hint of bittersweetness to her lips as she smiles and thinks of her own cats.)
“I think there's something there.” Jughead comes to stand next to her, pressing a button at the back.
Huh, she must've missed that.
There's a quiet whining noise before music begins to play.
Paintings on her skin,
Colors in her hair
Come around the corner make you stop and stare
But she don't hit her mark 'cause she don't really care
What you think about her
Think about her
Josie presses the button again and the music cuts off.
She places the globe back in the box and stands to her feet, somewhat shakily.
“I have to go to the ladies room.”
All eyes are on her as she rushes out of the room. Reggie, Kevin, and Cheryl especially.
“Well, don't just sit there!” Veronica reprimands him, “go after her.”
“You're a hard kitten to catch.” He takes the spot next to her. “Sorry about the gift. I thought it'd be a good idea and it was Kevin's idea really.”
Josie laughs softly, “I liked the gift, Reggie. It's just. I miss my best friends.”
Reggie nods, covering her hand with his comfortingly, “They miss you too. It's a rough patch, I'm certain you'll be back to normal in no time.”
“Yeah. You're right.”
“What is it?”
Josie points to the mistletoe that is now hanging in the doorway. He was confident in the fact that was not there before.
“We-um, we don't have to.”
Josie just tugs him forward by his open jacket. Even in her heels, she has to lean up to reach his lips.
Reggie doesn't have enough time to react before the kiss is over and she's walking away from him.
He licks his lips before rejoining the group with her. Jughead hands him a gift with a resigned nod.