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to suffer is to be human

Chapter Text

It is the end of ice-cold February and there is a snow storm in New York. The wind is blowing, the roads are empty and Veronica had just returned to her luxurious apartment on the Upper East Side. She was exhausted, yearning to have a glass or two of her Domaine de la Romanée- Conti Cuvée Duvault Blochet wine while soaked naked in a relaxing hot bath.

You see, Veronica is in her first year of medical school. Back in Riverdale high, everyone seemed to surmise that she’s going back to the city and live the rest of her life being a haughty socialite. But no, Veronica will not live her life like that. She has an ambition, a dream to be the best General surgeon in New York City and she will damn achieve it. Her other ambition was to marry a certain gorgeous blonde, but she fucked it up.

Elizabeth Cooper. A beautiful name for a beautiful lady.

Just thinking about her makes Veronica’s insides twist, much more worse than a patient about to have an appendectomy, she thought. She shakily poured herself another glass of wine, desperately trying not to think about Betty for once. Just this once, please. If she had a God she’d already begged for him, or her to stop the pain that she’s going through right now.

Six weeks, four days and three hours since she last saw Betty.

They had a very complicated relationship. It started on sophomore year, innocent little kisses between cheerleading rehearsals, sharing an old fashioned vanilla at the diner after classes, getting drunk on the rooftop during weekends to unwind.

Then came junior year. Full blown make-out sessions in abandoned alleys, eating breakfast together at the diner right before class, frequent sending of cupcakes flown from New York just because it was Betty’s absolute favourite, sleeping over at the Lodge apartment on the weekends.

 Senior year was a year of first times for the both of them. Laughing softly in the middle of sex because they were still both inexperienced, kisses on the forehead when one of them is upset, cooking-the-other-dinner-while-binge-watching-Downton-Abbey-on-Netflix kind of dates, pretending to have British accents in attempt to cheer the other up, being each other’s dates at the senior prom, knowing the other’s preferred kind of coffee, holding hands under the cafeteria table, and not acknowledging their feelings for they were both just two girls afraid to ruin what they have.

After graduation, they both packed their bags and went to college, relationship status still unknown. Veronica is taking Pre-med while Betty is a double major in Journalism and Political Science. They both made sure to call each other at least once a day, text during free time and skype on Wednesday nights at seven. They met on the weekends, enjoying each other’s company with the occasional intimacy.

-

Junior year, College: Betty’s dormitory

“Ronnie, are you still awake?” Betty whispered with a faint crack in her voice.

“Y-yeah, what’s wrong?” Veronica said, turning her head slightly so she can face the latter.

“You’re beautiful.”

“Elizabeth Cooper, ever the romantic. But really, what’s wrong?” Veronica said, sensing that Betty had something important to say.

Five seconds. Ten seconds. Fifteen.

“My mom wants me to meet a son of her friend’s. She said I should date him or else our business is going to end.” Betty whispered softly.

Five seconds. Ten seconds. Fifteen seconds. Twenty.

“I weary for desires never guessed, for alien passions, strange imaginings—to be some other person for a day.” Veronica declaimed, breath shaking slightly.

“Ronnie, I—“

Despite her tears threatening to fall down, Veronica gravitated towards Betty, leaned her head on the blonde’s stiff shoulder, both arms gripping the other’s waist tightly

“Sleep, love. We have to drive back to Riverdale in a few hours for Thanksgiving and we can’t afford to wake up late.”

“Goodnight.” Betty said but it seemed like it was more of a goodbye.

-

1st semester of Medical School: Veronica’s apartment

“Come on Ronnie, let’s go get dinner.” Betty sighed, hugging Veronica from behind as she tried to persuade her to eat.

“Finals week is coming up Betts, I can’t afford to fail my exams, you know that.” Veronica said, her eyes frantically scanning the room for her missing revision notebook.

“I know. You work too hard and I barely see you anymore these days. The whole squad misses you, even Cheryl and she’s your neighbour. I just.. I miss you.”

“I miss you too, B. Fine, let’s go and eat those leftover pizzas.”

-

“So.. how are things with you and your man?” Veronica expertly hid her sadness with a beaming smile.

“He’s fine.” Betty said curtly.

“Spill the details, is he a good kisser?” Is he a better kisser than me? Is the underlying question beneath that, and they both know it.

“Veronica.”  Betty said coldly, her eyes telling the other to stop.

Veronica sighed.

“Are you happy with him? Do you love him, Betty?” Her brown eyes silently pleading her to say no.

You make me happy. She wants to say.

“You’re right Ronnie. You can’t afford to fail your exams, see you after finals.” Betty shakily said, standing up and going straight outside the door.

 

 

 

They didn’t meet after Finals.

-

“Veronica, stop it. You know how Betty hates it when you smoke.”  Cheryl tutted as she tried to get the pack of cigarettes the intoxicated girl is holding.

“Well Cheryl, she isn’t here is she? She’s too busy fucking her boyfriend.” Veronica said icily as she lighted up another cigarette stick.

“You’re insufferable, Lodge. You should release some of those tension, when was the last time you got laid?”

Veronica bit her lip. The last time she got laid was the night before Betty and her drove back to Riverdale.

“Uhh, thanksgivingjunioryear.”

“Excuse me, could you repeat that?” Cheryl asked, amused at how the usual confident Veronica Lodge is behaving.

“Thanksgiving junior year. There.”

“Jesus, Veronica. You haven’t been with anyone intimately since Betty?” 

Cheryl gave her a sympathetic look and gave her a comforting hug.

“Tell her you love her before you lose her.”

Veronica sighed, “I already did.”

Chapter Text

Present time: Sapphire New York Club, 10:15pm

“It’s been weeks since we last saw our friends but here we are, fifty-six minutes late.” Veronica complained to her redhead friend slash neighbour.

“Oh shush, you. As Queen Clarisse Renaldi said, “A queen is never late, everyone else is simply early.” Cheryl winked as she fixed her long, red hair before entering the club.

Veronica rolled her eyes, she’s already immune to Cheryl’s royal-like behaviour, the Blossoms are almost on-par with the Lodges when it comes to riches. So, she smoothed out her little black dress and checked her pearls one last time. She sighed, “Here we go.”

“You okay? You can do this, I’ll be here beside you all night.” Cheryl took her hand and squeezed it, smiling comfortinglyㅡa rare side that she only shares with the people she trusts, and Veronica considers herself lucky to be one of those few.

They were never friends in high school. Cheryl had a complicated relationship with them, one day she’s throwing iconic one-lined insults, (Kevin loves her one-liners.) the next second, she’s all cuddled up next to Veronica at the Twilight.

Watching films every Friday became Veronica and Cheryl’s thing. Betty occasionally turns up when she manages to sneak out of her house, sitting between the two. Unofficial girlfriends can get jealous too.

Veronica learned that there was more than Cheryl’s grieving twin widow, bitch queen exterior. She learned that Cheryl has the ability to care for other people aside from her dead brother, in her own Blossom-way of course. Plus, she knew all the juicy gossip in this town. Veronica loved it.

 “You’re the best. C’mon girl, let’s go meet the band.”

-

“Where the hell is Ginger Blair Waldorf and Latina Serena van der Woodsen?” a tipsy Kevin asked.

Betty rolled her eyes, slightly irritated at how those two always seem to be together nowadays. It was bad enough that her unofficial girlfriend in high school always spent her Fridays with Cheryl. For her, Cheryl clearly likes Ronnie. Was she jealous? No.

Okay, maybe.

She sighed.

It’s been weeks since she last saw Veronica and frankly, she is slightly neurotic about seeing her again. The last time she saw Veronica, they barely acknowledged each other’s presence. Sure, they talked a little but it was tense and frankly, very awkward and she loathed it. They used to talk about everything, anything under the sun for hours. She misses her. And tonight, Betty plans to reconcile with her brunette best friend.

Betty’s thoughts were cut short as she saw her favourite brunette walk in, clad in a stygian dress with a plunging neckline that should be considered the eighth deadly sin. Topped off with her black trademark cape and insignia pearls.

Betty bit her lip.

She shouldn’t be turned on and most of all, her mind shouldn’t be filled with titillating details about Veronica and her wonderful backside.

-

Freshman Year: College

“I like big butts and I cannot lie...” Betty started rapping as she watched Veronica bend over to pick up her phone from the floor.

“Have I told you how much of an amazing rapper you are? A skill that could rival Eminem’s.” Veronica said with a teasing smile, pressing a kiss on Betty’s cheek.

“Thank you babe but please stop changing the topic. Talking about your ass here, y’know?  Important stuff.”

“Apologies, dear madam. Please do continue.” Veronica said as she stood up to sit on the blonde’s lap.

“It’s so big and soft, I love it.” Betty grinned as she grabbed the brunette’s bottom.

“I feel the same way about your breasts, m’lady.” Veronica grinned back as she squeezed the latter’s gifted breasts.

“It’s three degrees and my boobs are freezing, thanks for warming it up, love.” Betty winked.

“Sometimes all you need is a good rub. I love the cold.”

“A good rub? I volunteer myself to do the task, Miss Lodge.”

“The honor is yours, Miss Cooper.”

_

 “Finally, the princesses of the East side have finally decided to grace us with their presence.” Jughead sarcastically said, but there is a rare hint of fondness in his voice.

“Your royal highnesses, Princess Cheryl of House Blossom and Princess Veronica of House Lodge have now arrived. You may all, rise.” Archie did his best imitation of a Royal private secretary, earning laughs from the group.

Kevin, Reggie and Moose faux bowed. Betty just stared.

“Here, here. You may now sit.” Cheryl said in a posh British accent.

“A cup of tea or a shot of tequila for your highnesses?” Kevin teased.

“Girl, you know I’d take a shot of tequila anytime!” Veronica laughed as she hugged Kevin, “I missed you, Kev.”

“Oh, Ronnie. I missed you too.” Kevin replied as she moved closer to her, “She misses you too, you know? A lot.” He whispered.

Veronica gave him a sad smile, her eyes alone giving him an answer.

-

It’s half past eleven and everyone’s dancing their night away. Tonight, they were just normal people having fun. No stressful workloads, no meddling parents and no complicated love problems.

Or so they thought.

Betty’s drunk.

And when she’s drunk, she has this urge to cling to a certain brunette.

“So, how’s medical school, V?” Archie, the sober designated driver asked, a warm smile plastered on his face.

“Honestly Archiekins? Very depressing. I have the urge to break down every five seconds.” She shrugged it off like it was a normal thing in Med school.

“And when she does, she comes over to my place and robs all the ice cream that I have in my refrigerator. Not complaining, though. Ronnie here practically lives in my apartment, she has her own closet there.” Cheryl smirked triumphantly at Betty’s direction.

 Betty’s eyes slightly widened in surprise as she took the newly announced information in but quickly recovered.

“Ronnie, remember when we used to share a closet together? Left side was yours, right one was mine. It didn’t matter though, right? Cause at the end of the day, we prefer sleeping in each other’s nighties in MY bed.” Betty threw Veronica a drunken smile.

Veronica is speechless and most of all, confused. Was Betty...jealous?

“You love sleeping in my bed though, don’t you V? If a “Best cuddler award” existed, you’d definitely bag it.” Cheryl retorted, placing an arm around the brunette.

Betty stared intensely at Veronica, waiting for an answer.

“Ladies, ladies. I’m gonna get more drinks, who wants one?” Reggie announced, breaking the tense atmosphere between the trio.

Veronica smiled thankfully at Reggie, “The strongest alcohol in this club, please.”

-

Sapphire New York Club, Midnight

“We shouldn’t be doing this.” Veronica breathlessly said as Betty peppered small kisses in her neck, shoulders, and down to her chest.

Betty hums, cupping Veronica’s face, giving her a loving look before closing her eyes tight and kissing her deeply. Veronica’s eyes shut in return at the feeling of Betty’s strawberry flavoured lips on hers, at the amount of love and affection that she’s feeling right now.

The feeling is almost electric.

Betty pulled away, blue eyes staring at brown’s with so much adoration. Veronica couldn’t breathe.

“What are we doing, B?” Veronica murmured, pulling Betty closer to her.

“I don’t know.” Betty whispered, giving Veronica a sad smile.

“You’re in a relationship. Does he love you?” Veronica asked, voice trembling.

“I don’t love him, you know that, Ronnie. I don’t love him.” Betty almost chanted it like  prayer, holding Veronica’s hands tightly.

 Veronica remained silent.

“Then why are you still with him? You can’t keep playing with both of our feelings here, Betty. We’re human too, we suffer. A lot.”

“That’s not fair.” Betty retorted.

Veronica kissed Betty on the forehead, lips lingering than usual.  “No, Betty. You’re what isn’t fair. You can’t keep doing this to me, to us. This is the last time.” She pulled away and opened the door.

Betty watched Veronica walk away, and she can’t help but blame herself for everything.

_

Veronica wiped her tears the second she went out of the restroom door. Her mother’s voice rang inside her head, “Lodge women don’t cry, Ronnie.” She always said. So she held her head up high and walked back into their booth confidently.

“So much for ‘just powdering your nose’ eh, V?” Kevin said with a wry smile.

“Yeah, I’m actually not feeling well...”

Cheryl immediately touched her forehead, “Are you okay? Want me to take you home?” she said, perfectly shaped eyebrows furred together, looking concerned.

Kevin looked at the brunette, “What happened in there?” he curiously asked.

“You really wanna the specific details on how I puked, Kev?” Veronica put her hands on her hips, staring at Kevin intently.

“Okay Medusa, no thank you.” Kevin raised his hands up, pretending to surrender.

Cheryl stood up and whispered to Veronica, “How are you feeling now? You can crash at my place, you know I have the best wine collection here.”  

“Keep on dreaming, Blossom. But I’ll take your offer, I desperately need a cuddle buddy tonight.” Veronica whispered back, hands rubbing the redhead’s upper arms.

“Just don’t puke on my Versace sheets this time, you functioning alcoholic.” Cheryl playfully said.

Veronica chuckled, “I can’t promise anything.” She patted the ginger’s butt lightly.

Kevin raised an eyebrow at the interaction, wondering if there is anything going on between the two. Cheryl is not exactly living in the straight zone either, she’s had her fair share of lady loving through the years.

“Care to share what you two are giggling about?” Betty asked appearing out of nowhere, downing another shot of tequila.

“Actually, we’re about to leave. Ronnie here is not feeling well so we’re going back home.” Cheryl sweetly smiled and Betty wants to scream.

We’re?”

Veronica shrugged, not at all looking like the sad girl who was kissing the blonde earlier, “Yes, I sleep over all the time.”

“I have to talk to you, Veronica.” Betty desperately said, eyes pleading for the brunette to say okay.

Veronica sighed and lighted up a stick of cigarette, taking a deep breath as she inhaled the cool smoke into her lungs. She saw Betty shake her head in disdain, hating the smell of cigarette smoke. She tries not to care because frankly, she’s tired. She wants to move on from Betty even though she knows she can’t. One look at the stunning blonde and she’s head over heels for her again. She forlornly wants to feel again.

“Not tonight, Elizabeth.” Veronica quickly said goodbye to Kevin, asking him to put their drinks in her tab as a way of apology for leaving early before dragging Cheryl outside the club.

 

Chapter Text

Two months since the club incident.

Two months since this became a routine.

“That was great.” Veronica said as she stood up from her canopy bed. She picked up her robe laying on the floor and hastily put it on.

The naked girl lying on the bed smirked at the blunt statement, not bothering to cover herself up with the white sheets sprawled all over the bed.

Veronica stood up and walked towards the vanity mirror, she grabbed her pack of cigarette and lit one. She closed her eyes as she inhaled the smoke, as she pretended that everything was okay, even for a while.

“I’d tell you that smoking is bad for the lungs, but you look so damn hot right now.” Veronica laughed out loud and began shaking her head slowly, “I’m going for this Holly Golightly look, is it working?”

“Oh, definitely.” the girl teased as she walked towards the brunette, kissing her deeply. She pulled away and began looking for her clothes, she caught sight of her lingerie and dress and started putting it on.

Veronica stared at her and asked, “You’re leaving?”

The girl brushed her hair for the last time and placed her bag on her shoulders, “Yes. I have to do some research for my case. We’re still on for tomorrow, right?” she raised her eyebrows as she leaned on the door.

“Yes Poison Ivy, no need to be strict.” Veronica teasingly replied.

“Alright, bye smokeshow.” the girl winked before stepping out of the door.

“Hey, that’s my line Cheryl!” Veronica shouted endearingly, she made her way towards her sofa and closed her eyes. “What the fuck am I doing?’ she asks herself.

-

Veronica Lodge is confused.

One day she loves Betty, the next day, she’s fucking Cheryl Blossom against her bathroom door.

Veronica is not stupid. She knows that Cheryl is harvesting some kind of feelings for her, but the question is, does she feel the same? She can’t talk to Kevin, because he’ll probably tell Betty. The boys won’t understand either, and she can’t exactly talk to Cheryl herself about this. She sighed, “Time to facetime Mama Lodge.”

One ring. Two rings.

“Ronnie, so good to hear from you.” Hermione’s enthusiastic voice almost startled Veronica, almost.

“Hey mom, it’s just.. I need to talk to you about something.”

“What is it honey?” Hermione replied, voice lacing with concern.

“It’s just, I don’t know how I feel about this girl. I’m pretty sure I’m inlove with another one, but this one confuses me.” Veronica bit her lip, afraid to admit more.

Hermione smiled sympathetically at her daughter, “Feelings are very complicated Ronnie, and can you tell me who it is? I know the other one’s Betty but I’m not sure who the new one is…”

Veronica cleared her throat, “It’s Cheryl, mom. Cheryl Blossom.”

Hermione raised her eyebrows, “Oh? You do like your Vixens, honey.” she threw her head back and laughed.

“Mom, this is serious.” Veronica playfully glared at her mom. She’s right though, she does have a type.

“Okay, okay. Tell me more about Cheryl?” The older Lodge carefully asks.

Veronica sighed, “She confuses the hell out of me, Mom. She knows that I still have feelings for Betty but she’s always there for me. She’s so passionate about everything, she’s in law school, by the way.” Veronica smiles, and Hermione smiles in return.

“Sometimes I just look at her and think..” she sighed and closed her eyes. “I just look at her and think at how beautiful the way her arms fold on her chest when she’s annoyed, how she smiles when she discovers a new flower shop, how her chest rises and falls slowly when she’s asleep. God.” she cries.

“But I also think about Betty, and how she cooks me my favorite breakfast, how she laughs at my lame jokes, how her lips tort in confusion when I mention something about medical school. I miss her mom, I miss her.” Veronica finally breaks down.

Hermione’s heart hurts for her daughter. “Ronnie, sometimes we miss people that we love or loved. It’s normal to miss them, especially when we’re alone. Today, I encourage you to slowly let go of the past, and lean on to the future, lean to the one who will make you happy. Do not go back to people just because you miss them, and from what I can gather, I’m sure a certain law student could provide you with the same love, or even more with what you lost.”

“Thank you mom, for being here.” Veronica wipes her tears, “Lodge women don’t cry, right?”

Hermione smiles sadly, “Sometimes all we need is a good cry, Ronnie.”

_

Veronica instantly regrets meeting Cheryl for coffee at this coffee shop this morning.

She forgot that Kevin’s boyfriend, Joaquin works here part-time. And knowing him, he will probably tell Kevin about this, and of course Kevin will tell Betty. She lifts the cup of coffee to her lips, sipping it slowly and sighs.

“Enjoying your coffee, V?” says a voice from behind her, and Veronica closes her eyes for a second as she felt Cheryl breathe around her neck.

Veronica looks at Cheryl, she’s wearing a blouse that barely covers the huge hickey marked on her neck. The hickey that she gave to her last night. She had to take a moment to catch her breath because she was unbelievably turned on right now.

Cheryl smirks at her, “Earth to Veronica, hello? Are you too busy staring at my beautiful body?”

“Please, nothing I’ve never seen before.” she scoffs, teasing the other girl.

Cheryl chuckled and reached for the coffee that the brunette had ordered for her, “You like my body.’’

Veronica looks at her admiringly, “That I do. And,” she takes a deep breath.

Cheryl stops sipping her coffee and looks at her expectantly, and does she see a glimmer of hope in her eyes?

“Aaaand.. I want to invite you to dinner at my place.” Veronica looks at her nervously.

“Dinner or dinner-dinner?” Cheryl slowly smiles.

“Dinner-dinner.” Veronica confirms.

“Veronica Lodge, are you asking me out on a date?”

“We might be doing things backwards but yes, I am asking you out on a date. If you want to, I mean. It’s okay if you decline. No problem.” she sips her coffee nervously.

Cheryl reaches for her hand and squeezes it, “I’d love to go out with you. But if only you’re sure.” the redhead’s eyes silently asking her if she’s already moved on from a certain blonde.

She stands up and places a kiss on the redhead’s cheek, “I’m sure. See you tonight.”

_

Veronica smiles as she sets the dinner table. For the first time in months, she was actually happy. This dinner date with Cheryl tonight was something she was actually looking forward to.

Her mother was right, she has to move on. She has to get rid of the toxic people in her life and no matter how much she doesn’t want to admit it, Betty is toxic. Betty is poison in her life, constantly dragging her back to the past. Cheryl on the other hand is maybe her key to a wonderful future, she hopes.

_

Veronica holds her against her body, her face between her hands as she leans upward for a bruising kiss. Cheryl shoves her against the wall, raises her skirt up to her hips and pulls her thong down. She moans as she felt two fingers get shoved inside her deeply. Three fingers. She thrusts back and forth and bites at her shoulder, leaving a mark.

She cries as she reaches her climax.

 

 

She’s happy.

-

The next morning, Veronica woke up with Cheryl sleeping peacefully beside her. She smiles and thinks, “She didn’t leave this time.”

She felt Cheryl move closer, throwing an arm around her bare stomach, “Morning.”

“Morning, sleepyhead. I have to go and make breakfast.” Veronica said, gently tucking a strand of red hair beside Cheryl’s ear.

“Don’t leave me.” Cheryl mumbled, hugging her tighter. “Let’s sleep all day.”

Veronica laughed, leaning down and kissing the redhead’s forehead softly. “C’mon, I have cherry cola.”

“Hmm.”

The bell rings.

“That must be my classmate, she’s just gonna drop off my book.” Veronca stands up and wears her robe, “Be right back, babe.”

-

Cheryl opens her eyes, she’s pretty sure Veronica was gone for a while now. She stands up and covers herself with the white sheets, she was too lazy to get dressed up.

She goes to check the living room and sees Veronica.

 

With Betty.

 

And Kevin.

Betty who is staring at her with fire in her eyes.

Kevin who she’s pretty sure just mumbled an, “Oh. My. God.” while smiling like he just witnessed the biggest scandal of the century.

“Maybe, I should get dressed first.” Cheryl announces, breaking the tension.

“Good idea.” Veronica replied, clutching her robe tightly.

_

Veronica asks Cheryl if she could talk to Betty alone, she surprisingly agrees.

She closes the door to the bedroom and asks the blonde, “Why are you here, Betty?”

“Can’t a girl visit her ‘ol bestfriend anymore?” Betty replies, trying to ease the tension.

Veronica closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, “First of all, B? We’re far from bestfriends right now, you fucked my heart and now I’m moving on. It’s fucking hard but I am trying.”

“I’m sorry, for everything. I am so fucking sorry.” Betty sobs, covering her face with her hands.

“It’s not that easy, Betty. You knew that I loved you but you still chose to follow Alice fucking Cooper. Jesus, you’re an adult yet you’re still following her orders like a mad dog.” Veronica shouts angrily.

Betty squints her eyes, “Loved?”

Veronica stays silent.

“I was waiting you know, for the right time to tell you before it all happened. I love you, Veronica. ” Betty said in barely a whisper.

Veronica shakes her head and laughs sarcastically, “You should’ve said it before it was too late. Waiting was a mistake. It’s too late, Betty.”

Betty nods in defeat, “Do you still love me?” she asks hopefully.

Veronica looks at her coldly, “I can’t believe I gave you the power to ruin me. You played with my feelings like it was some toy. You kissed me and made me feel special but at the end of the day, you go back to him.” she shakes her head, tears falling down her face.

“I’m sorry, I’m so fucking sorry. I will never forgive myself for what I did to you.” Betty stands up and carefully hugs the brunette.

Veronica doesn’t hug her back.

“Are you happy with Cheryl?” Betty asks, voice trembling as she holds the brunette’s hands.

Veronica smiles a little, “She keeps me sane. Are you happy with him?”

Betty doesn’t answer.

 

 

“I guess that engagement ring answers my question.”