It's a few minutes past curfew when Betty gets home, streetlights washing out the front steps of the home she grew up in. Jughead stands on the sidewalk, smirk tugging at his lips and eyes dark.
Betty can't stop herself from raising a hand to her own kiss-swollen mouth. Tonight's the first time he's worn the Serpents jacket even though it's been two weeks since she stood there and watched it be presented to him. The leather looks good on him. She knows he'll wait at the end of the Cooper's lawn until she's inside, so Betty finally turns around after blowing him a final kiss.
She takes her shoes off at the base of the tree, although they're only flats, in an effort to be as quiet as possible. It also makes climbing easier. Polly has been restless at night for the past week and Betty doesn't want to disturb her if she's actually sleeping. As she crawls in over the threshold, she remembers that Polly and her mom are spending the night two towns over for Polly's appointment with the best pre-natal doctor their mother could find; never let anyone believe Alice Cooper doesn't get the best care available.
She slides inside carefully, presses the window shut until she hears the latch click quietly nonetheless. It's probably good practice for later, Betty thinks she'll probably be sneaking in more often now that summer's almost here. Betty stands at the panes for a moment longer, watching Jughead walk down the sidewalk. His ever-present beanie is askew from when her hands were in his hair not five minutes earlier and the sight makes her giggle.
The laughter dies suddenly when the light in the corner of her room comes on without warning. It's not on an automatic timer and Betty is frightened at someone being in her room. Betty spins around and blinks rapidly, eyes adjusting to the bright glow.
Her dad sits in the chair at her vanity set, jaw set with tension and eyes hard in a way Betty saw once before when her Mom dragged her to The Register and shattered the window with a brick.
"Dad!" Betty cries out, surprised. She thought - in fact, she had counted on - him being in the basement or in the kitchen or at the very least, not in her bedroom when she snuck back in after a date night at Pop's and a movie on Jughead's laptop with shared headphones over milkshakes.
"Why is there a Southside Serpent dropping you off past curfew, Betty?"
Betty can feel the heat of her blush; she doesn't feel her nails dig into her palms as her fists clench. "His name is Jughead, he's my friend." She swallows before admitting the next part. "In fact, he's my boyfriend." It's not like she and Juggie have sat down and talked about it, using labels and the like, but Betty knows how she feels and she thinks that Jughead, for all his stoic exterior and rare smiles, wouldn't object to her possessiveness of him in this moment. Her hands tremble but she relaxes at the thought. Boyfriend. It has a nice sound to it.
"Absolutely not." Her dad grits out, teeth clenched like he's holding back worse words. "No daughter of mine is going to date a gangbanger who's going to knock her up the first chance he gets. I will not have two pregnant daughters under this roof thanks to young men who have no sense of responsibility."
Betty is unsure what to refute first and in the end, it doesn't matter. She blinks and her father is standing right in front of her, hand wrapped around her wrist. His grip is too tight, and it only tightens further when Betty tries to pull away.
"What are you doing? Let me go! Dad!" Betty yells, yanking her arm away best she can. It's a fruitless endeavor.
Her father twists her arm up, marches her across the room and shoves her down onto the bed. Onto her bed. Betty's stomach drops, bile rising as the hem of her dress is pushed up.
Her dad - Hal, her mind supplies, because she can't call him dad when he's acting like this. Not when he's going to - Betty's mind halts in her tracks. Hal is leaning over her, speaking into her ear so she can't miss a single word. One hand is still clutching her arm at a painful angle, the other is stroking the soft skin of her right thigh. "You want that snake to look at you like this? You want his hands on you, touching you? You know that's how it starts, don't you Betty? Just ask your sister."
His hand leaves her and comes down with a sharp smack on her bottom. Betty yelps in surprise. Hal's hand hits her again and again, making Betty tear up. She hasn't been spanked since she was a child and even then, it only happened twice. This feels worse than her hazy childhood memories, bottom burning and letting Betty know she should be careful sitting down tomorrow in a booth at Pop's. If she even can sit down. She's lost in her thoughts but she can imagine what Hal's saying: she missed curfew, she's dating no-good lowlife South Side trash, Jughead will only bring trouble to her life, to the Coopers, to the family's reputation and they obviously can't have that happen since Polly and Jason have done all of that already.
Hal stops, apparently satisfied with what he sees. Betty doesn't dare move her head from her pale pink bedspread, afraid if she draws his attention that he'll be spurred to do something worse.
It doesn't matter because then Hal is pulling down her panties, light blue cotton with white flowers on the border. Betty can feel them hanging off one ankle as Hal shoves her further up the bed. He covers her body with his own as she shakes her leg just enough to slip the panties onto the floor, shakes off the last barrier she had.
Hal's body is heavy over hers, pressing her down into her childhood bed. He uses a knee to part her legs and he isn't gentle about it. Betty hears the metal of a belt buckle and stifles a sob against her pillowcase. It smells faintly of the lavender sachet her mother keeps tucked in the linen closet. This is really happening to her.
"You haven't given me any other choice, Elizabeth Cooper." Hal's words slip into her ear and he's breathing hard. "I couldn't bear to see you carry the child of a snake, of someone less than you."
Betty still can't move, frozen in fear but at yet another dig to Jughead who isn't even in the room to defend himself, she unthaws and snaps.
"He isn't less than me! He's brilliant, and loyal and so kind." Betty shrieks. "Jughead is more of a man-" She's cut off by a stinging slap to her very sore bottom. Her hands are bloody from her nails digging in, her mind supplies dizzily as she feels the familiar sensation of wetness trickling down her fingers.
"Jughead Jones," her father muses, straddling her now. She can feel the hairs on his legs brush against her thighs. "Your mom used to be good friends with the scum who begat him. Maybe this will also be a favor, what I'm doing here. You could be related and then where would I be? I'd be left with a deformed grandchild and all of Riverdale would know the truth whenever they set eyes on the bastard."
Betty sobs anew as Hal disavows her in the next diatribe, the same man who taught her how to check the oil in a car when she was still standing on a step stool to see into the engine block.
She doesn't think she's ever felt this anxious, waiting with heaving chest for her dad to destroy her innocence. She wants the night to be over. She can't think about his words, that she and her boyfriend might have a closer relationship than that of high school sweethearts.
"Yes," Hal says decisively. His breath is hot against her neck and his body is so heavy. She thinks she'll be able to feel his weight even when everything is done. "I'm saving you from making a big mistake, sleeping with a hoodlum who's probably your brother. He can't knock you up if you're already pregnant."
Betty tries vainly to ascertain if her father is drunk. It's the only explanation for what he's saying. She hears the sound of skin on skin, and it makes her stomach twist further to realize he's not hard enough to penetrate her.
Then she feels him against her core, blunt and so warm. He's big, seemingly bigger than the length of Jughead, whose cock she's only touched once in the low lights of FP's trailer.
"No, Dad!" She begs. "Please, please don't! I haven't done this before, please!" The words tumble from her lips but Betty can't hear what she's saying over the roaring in her own ears.
Hal presses forward and Betty grasps the covers in her shaking hands. If she lets her nails press into her hands any further, she fears they might go through to the bone.
Hal presses forward and Betty keens. It's dry and too big and it hurts. It hurts so much. He withdraws and Betty sobs, shoulders shaking.
She can't look behind her, keeping her eyes squeezed shut and face pressed against the pillow. She can hear him spitting and then his cock returns, pushing into her.
He's rough, fingers grasping at her hip hard enough that Betty knows she'll have bruises. Every slap of his body against her abused flesh sends sparks of pain to her brain but it's nothing compared to the forceful thrusting.
Betty hears noises in the room as Hal continues fucking into her and lifts her head blearily from her bed. She can't see anything with all the tears running unchecked but she wonders idly if a small animal is outside in the tree before she realizes the noises are coming from her. Betty can't stop the small whimpers even if she wanted to. There might be words mixed in, more begging that falls on deaf ears but Betty couldn't say for sure.
Hal's frantic movements slow and he pulls almost all the way out before slamming back in. Betty's cries are caught in her throat as he gentles in stark contrast to his earlier movements.
"I'm close, Betty." Hal growls and Betty can't process the words even as he pushes further into her body, sudden warmth flooding her womb without her say-so.
Betty moans as he pulls out for the final time and drops her slack body to the bed. She feels so dirty, used and cheap and in a disgusting way, empty. Some small part of her is glad she didn't come though she knows if she had, it wouldn't have been a sign that she enjoyed what happened but that her body had a biological response to the friction.
She can feel Hal's weight move, finally letting her breathe as he shifts off her body and stands from the bed. Betty's lower half feels like it's been set on fire, burning from the roughness and the dulled ache of the spanking and the sex itself because oh yeah, she had been a virgin just a few hours earlier. Her dress is still rucked up around her waist. Betty makes no move to straighten it out.
Hal stares at her silently as she slowly finds the willpower to curl into a ball. Her hands are still clutching the bedspread, stuck together with dried blood and seized muscles. Betty doesn't care at the moment.
"Get out," she whispers and her throat isn't as raw as she thought it would be after all the crying she had done. "You got what you wanted, Dad."
He takes a few steps and her bedroom door opens, hinges creaking because her mother likes to know if she's left her bedroom during the afternoons where Betty says she's studying in her room. "We'll know for sure in nine months, Betty. Don't worry yourself about what to do if tonight didn't take. There's always tomorrow!" His voice is almost cheery and Betty can feel her gorge rise. "Your mother and Polly aren't coming back until late so we'll have the whole day together." The door shuts behind him and his words hang in the air like a promise.
Betty is surprised she still has tears left inside of her as she cries herself to sleep.
Apparently there was more to tell in this story.
All mistakes, grammar and otherwise, are my own. Please let me know if there's a half-finished sentence somewhere in this chapter.
Sunlight in her eyes wakes Betty from an exhausted sleep. She stirs and can't help the moan of pain from even that small movement.
Her makeup is more than likely smeared over her face and her eyes are gritty from the makeup and tears she shed. Her arm is sore and Betty isn't too surprised to look down and see a bracelet of bruises from Hal's grip.
It's slow going but Betty manages to roll off her bed and stand to her feet. She strips off the dress and kicks it under the chair at her vanity; she doesn't ever want to wear it again but she'll figure out what to do with it later. Right now, she's going to take a bath behind a locked door and treat the cuts on her hand.
That, at least, is familiar territory for Betty Cooper.
She wraps herself in the purple terrycloth robe that hangs just inside her closet door. If she ties the sash a little tighter than she normally would, she's the only one to know.
Betty crosses the hallway in short, quick steps to reach the bathroom. She doesn't know where her father is and right now, is too afraid of a repeat of last night to call out for him. She double checks the bathroom door is locked behind her before she turns on the water to fill the tub.
The water is steaming gently when Betty disrobes, avoiding the mirror's reflection as she hangs the robe up on the hook. She climbs in gingerly, hissing between her teeth at the heat and her soreness. All she has to do is wait it out, let the hot water relax her, like after an especially strenuous Vixens practice.
It helps more than Betty expected, by the time the water has cooled and she's stepping out onto the rug in front of the tub. Her muscles don't ache.
She darts across the hall, hair dripping down her back. There's no sign of her dad yet.
Betty pulls on underwear, another well-worn pair that fit like a second skin. She debates looking in the mirror and decides she's not ready yet. She pulls on jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, pulls her hair into the usual ponytail and decides to brave downstairs for some breakfast.
The coffee is still warm in its pot but there's no one around. Betty tries not to make too much noise, pulling the container of cut-up fruit from the fridge and some yogurt like she usually eats on weekends with her mother watching all that she puts in her mouth.
She realizes, spoon raised above the bowl for her second bite, that there's no one in the house beside her. Betty eats as fast as she can and washes the few dishes she's made, feeling like she's on tenterhooks half-listening for some sign of her father.
He doesn't appear.
Betty still grabs a book off her to-read pile, laces her running shoes and heads out. She'll spend the day at Pop's with a milkshake and a fantasy world where nothing can harm her. On an ordinary day, Betty might bike over to the diner but she can't imagine the press of the seat against her sore parts and chooses to walk. It'll take longer, certainly, but the sky is full of white clouds and she has nothing planned but to avoid the house as long she can.
When Betty returns to the house at dusk, she can't help but shiver as she climbs the stairs. She knows her mother and Polly are already inside, since Polly had texted her from the car with all the appointment updates and also when they were a half-hour away so could Betty please get her a choc-strawberry shake?
Betty wipes the blood from her palms and the sweating to-go cup before she opens the front door. The house is alive again, Polly carefully navigating the stairs with a hand extended for her milkshake.
"Just what the doctor ordered," Betty manages to joke but the smile drops from her face when she sees both her parents in the kitchen, plating food for the four of them. Polly thankfully doesn't notice, too busy sucking down the requested treat.
It's a very quiet dinner on her part, seated to the left of her father. Betty lets her mother's retelling of the drive and the doctor's appointment wash over her. She feels Hal's gaze on her at the end of the meal and doesn't meet his eyes. Betty collects the used plates and cutlery from the table after Polly excuses herself for the bathroom and it seems the meal is over.
"What did you do all day?" Hal's voice is a whisper in her ear, barely louder than the running water. "You never came out to the garage, I had a real nice surprise planned."
Never has Betty been more thankful that she decided to walk into town this morning. Her knuckles turn white around the spoon's handle.
"You can't do that again," Betty hisses. She picks up the sponge to start scrubbing at the back of the spoon. It drops into the soapy water when Hal's hand makes contact with her lower back.
"No. Please." Betty's voice is raw and if she has to ask again, she knows there will be tears.
Hal hushes her, hand sliding down to cup her ass and squeeze. Betty winces at the tight grip. "We could have had some fun, Betty. It's a shame."
Then his hand is moving away and Hal is bending over to kiss her hair, like it's a regular night in the Cooper household. Betty feels sick and the spoon in her hand is the only thing that prevents her nails from reopening the cuts on her palm.
"Coming, sweetheart?" Her mother asks and Betty blinks. Her mother holds up a DVD from Redbox.
"Just going to get some popcorn," Hal responds with a grin. Betty feels like she's trapped in a sitcom-turned-horror show. It's not unusual for her parents to watch a film in the basement together, or all of them as a family but it's been months. Before Jason Blossom's death, even.
"Do you want to join us?" Her mother asks and Betty shakes her head. She puts the sparkling clean spoon on the drying rack above the sink and picks up a fork.
"I'm feeling tired, I took a long run in the park this afternoon." Betty excuses herself.
"Don't run tomorrow," comes the instruction. Betty nods in acquiescence and goes back to scrubbing at the silverware with too much force. She feels poised to run, to flee. There's still silverware and a salad bowl left in the sink to wash up, instead.
The sounds of the movie drift up from the basement and Betty skirts around the door to her parents, to her father. Betty takes the stairs to the second floor and the safety of her bedroom two at a time once she's turned out the kitchen light. The crack between door and carpet in Polly's room is dark and Betty is assured she's asleep.
She stands in the doorway to her own room, looking at the floral wallpaper and the LOVE sign hanging on the wall. Her bed is perfectly made from the morning, a habit drilled into her by the time she was ten. It looks just like it did the day before, and Betty suddenly can't stand the sight of it.
She knows her mother is going to check on her before she goes to bed herself, so stripping the bed of its sheets isn't an option. Betty gets ready for bed, washing her face and taking her time in putting moisturizer on to put off climbing into the same bed that was witness to what happened.
Her mother is waiting for her when Betty leaves the bathroom. "Are you feeling alright, Betty?" she asks with concern clear on her face. "You were quiet at dinner."
"I just wore myself out," Betty says and her mother nods like that explains everything.
"Well, into bed with you and tomorrow will be a better day!" Betty follows her mother's wishes, helpless to do anything but agree. Her mother goes so far as to tuck her in, pulling up the covers and patting her arm like Betty is a child again.
"Everything is going to be fine," her mother says with a smile. Betty's hands clench into fists under the sheets. "Just know that whatever happens, I'll still love you."
Betty doesn't ask what she's talking about. She isn't sure if it's a tacit confirmation that her mother knows what occurred last night while she was out of the house, or if it's just her mother reassuring Betty that she'll be here for her, because she's the golden child now that Polly is going to become a mother in a few months' time.
"I know, Mom." Betty reassures and turns her face into her pillow like she's tired. She can't think of anything she wants less than to fall asleep, unprotected, in the same place as "Good night."
"Sleep well," her mother says as she turns the light out. The door shuts behind her and Betty is alone in her bedroom.
She curls up in a ball beneath the sheets, then stretches out like a starfish. There's no getting comfortable in this bed, no matter how she tries. Eventually, she closes her eyes and gives up, which is when she slips into oblivion.
Morning is dim, the sun rising and being swallowed up in grey clouds that promise a heavy rainfall at some point later that day.
Betty smiles bitterly as she gets dressed in another long-sleeve sweater and denim jacket. She thinks if someone were to pass her in the street, they'd have no idea that everything in Betty's world has changed.
She treads down the stairs to the kitchen, wondering if her stomach can handle anything beyond tea. She's had plans made to meet Jughead and Veronica at Pop's in the afternoon for a week now, the only free time the other two had in between handling the Serpents and getting the apartment ready for Hiram's release in two days.
Betty considers calling Veronica to plead sickness but she knows that would mean she would be stuck in her room, which absolutely won't happen. Her nails dig into her palms at the idea of being trapped there and it takes effort to relax her fingers.
Breakfast is subdued, a continuation of dinner the night before. Betty sips her coffee and chokes back a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter. Her father's usual seat at the table is empty. Polly tries to push eggs onto her plate and Betty blocks the serving spoon with her fork.
"I'm not too hungry, Pol." Betty explains and Polly nods. The Cooper household is well aware of when Polly herself is starving for food or can't stand the sight.
Betty spends the rest of the morning on the front porch, watching the cars drive past. When there's still an hour before the agreed-upon time at Pop's, Betty slips on sneakers instead of slippers and walks out of the house.
She's the first to arrive and waves at Pop behind the counter. He sends her a wide grin in greeting, any words lost to the sounds of the kitchen.
Veronica is the next to arrive, cashmere and tweed and a floral perfume Betty thinks might be new. She can't decide if it's good or not that Jughead wasn't first because she knows he is going to take one look at her and know something has changed. She feels like it's written on her skin, no matter how hard or long she scrubs in the shower. Veronica beating him to Pop's saves her the trouble of lying on the spot that everything is fine.
It's not that Veronica wouldn't normally notice, but her world at this moment revolves around her father's release and settling him back in with her mother at Pembrooke like everything is normal. Betty doesn't blame her for the blinders.
Jughead strolls in as Betty is considering when exactly she'd turn back the clock and if she did, would she have foreknowledge of things to avoid?
"Serious thoughts for a Sunday afternoon," her boyfriend greets her, pulling a face.
"The implications and parameters of a successful time travel," Betty says seriously. "Thank you," she adds to Pop, who's delivered their milkshakes and Jughead's usual order of two hamburgers.
The conversation starts there, Betty arguing that you would have to keep a set of memories if one were to travel back in time and Jughead playing devil's advocate out of the sake of argument than anything else. Veronica chimes in here and again, in between tapping at her phone.
"I think I need new sheets," Betty says softly, not fully committed to the idea yet despite how firm she had been on the idea the night before. It had occurred to her on the walk over to Pop's, that maybe her restless sleep pattern would be broken if she had bedding that didn't remind her of That Night. She doesn't have much money but hopefully it will be enough to get at least a new fitted and flat sheet.
Unfortunately, Veronica overhears and is enthusiastic at a proposed shopping trip. "Absolutely! I don't think any place within fifty miles of here would carry Sferra but I'm sure we can find something comparable."
Betty nods and manages a little smile.
Next to her, Jughead slurps at the last inch of his chocolate milkshake, a pointed reminder he's sitting in the booth with them. "This sounds like a girl's day out montage, best left to the professionals." he says wryly and Betty turns to face him.
"If you want to come," she starts to offer just as Veronica agrees loudly that this trip is a no boys allowed zone.
"It's fine," Jughead sets the shake down and steals a fry from the scant few remaining on Veronica's plate. "I've been itching to beat Archie on COD anyhow."
"- and see Fred." Betty surmises. It's been three weeks since Fred Andrews was released from the hospital, pale and on strict bedrest. "We can stop by before, if you think he'd be up for more company." Veronica nods her head.
Jughead squeezes Betty's hand under the table. "I'll let you know if he's awake when you get back in town. He sleeps a lot."
"Sure," Betty agrees even though she's never personally known anyone who got shot before now. "I'm sure Veronica wants to go shopping sooner rather than later. I'll see you later, then?"
"I promise," Jughead murmurs, and leans over to kiss her. Betty closes her eyes and meets him halfway, pleased there's nothing in her stomach except the usual butterflies. At least this hasn't been corrupted.
Betty pushes a hand into Jughead's thick head of hair, holding him close. His tongue brushes over her lower lip before he finally pulls back. Betty's hand falls to his shoulder and Jughead peers at her, eyes serious.
"Are you okay?" he asks, just for her ears. He takes her other hand in his under the table and his thumb sweeps across the red crescent moons in the palm of her hand.
"Ask me again tonight," Betty says. "I'm not sure yet."
Jughead leans his head against Betty's arm, neither of them making any move to leave the booth they share. Betty move her hand off his shoulder but only far enough to cup his cheek. Jughead holds her hand in his and presses a gentle kiss to the palm of that hand before letting go of both of her hands. Betty smiles helplessly at the gesture. Veronica coughs and Betty busies herself by making sure her phone and wallet are both in her purse in hopes her blush isn't completely visible to her friend and boyfriend.
"Shopping waits for no one, Betty Cooper!" Veronica exclaims happily.
They all leave a pile of dollar bills on the table under empty milkshake glasses and then Betty is whisked away to the town car Veronica has waiting outside Pop's.
"You two are sweet," Veronica says over the sounds of Blondie. "I'm not sure anyone would imagine it of Jughead, since he seems to be embodying the biker archetype now with the ever present leather jacket, but truly. It's obvious he cares about you."
Betty can feel the flush rising in her cheeks again. "I'm lucky."
"You are." Veronica agrees and then starts singing along with the radio. The car drives on, carrying Betty and Veronica away from Riverdale and Betty sighs with relief.