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drop the game

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It's around 8:30 pm when Betty receives a text from Jughead to meet her at FP's trailer. After Jughead moved in with his foster family, the two struggled to find spare moments together. Every so often they could find some time on a school night to meet up at the trailer. It had become a safe spot for them to exist in solitude; no outside pressures people who disapproved of their relationship. The writing on Betty's locker was gone, but classmates still murmured about her being a serpent sympathizer in passing. Jughead fared better at Southside High and found his new classmates to be a bit more like tolerable.

Betty stifles a yawn as she lets herself into the trailer. Tucking her key into her bag as takes her laptop out to work on the upcoming Blue & Gold issue before Jughead arrives. It's a bit chilly in the trailer, so she makes sure to switch on the space heater before heading towards the couch. As she goes to sit down, she finally notices that she's not alone. Staring up at her is a shaggy white dog that seems equally curious about the situation.

"Oh," Betty remarks. "Hi there." The dog barks in response. Slowly, she tries to take a seat but a low growl comes out. “Okay then. We’ll just, uh, stand?”

Before she can try anything else, the door swings open. The dog fervently hops off the couch, tail wagging as he jumps up on Jughead.

“Hey,” he coos. Betty is speechless; she doesn’t think she’s ever seen Jughead look so easygoing and happy. Previously, and perhaps selfishly, she had thought his smiles were reserved for her. But there he stands, crouched down to the dog’s level and rubbing him behind the ears as if Betty didn’t exist. 

“Juggie?” she asks.

"Hi," he says, crossing the room to greet her with a quick kiss. The dog trails at his heels.

"Um. Who is this?" She gestures downwards, breaking away from the kiss. It's not that she doesn't like dogs; Jughead often has to drag her away from petting strangers' dogs. This one just happened to catch her off guard and seemed to be quite wary of her.

“Sorry, I should have told you. This is Hot Dog. One of the Serpents… he, uh, had to leave town. Hot Dog didn’t really have anywhere else to go, so I said he could stay here. You’ll love him, he’s practically me as a dog.” He quirks a small smile, glancing from the dog to Betty.

“He’s adorable,” she offers. “But I don’t think he’s my biggest fan.”

“Don’t say that. He just takes some time to warm up to people.” She watches Jughead’s eyes light up with pure affection as he bends down to give Hot Dog a belly rub. “I figured you’d be happy.”

“I am! I totally am. I was just expecting to have you to myself tonight,” she explains. With a small smirk, she brings him up to meet her eyes before leaning in to capture his mouth with hers.

She misses feeling this close to him, fingers tracing his jawline before hooking her hands behind his neck. Instantly, his hands are on her waist as he deepens the kiss. They carefully step away from Hot Dog’s spot on the floor and fall back into the couch. Betty feels as if her whole body is humming while Jughead’s hands wander down her backside, gripping firmly. He trails kisses from her lips to her neck, stopping at the spot he knows drives her crazy and smiling as her breath catches in her throat. She tilts her head back, granting him better access.

Their trance is broken as Hot Dog hops up on the couch, mouth hanging open and panting. Jughead can’t help but chuckle and quickly returns back to Betty’s neck. She tries to lose herself in his touch again, but all she can feel is Hot Dog’s breath blowing on her leg. Frustrated, she pulls away.

“Maybe we should just get some work done,” she suggests, sighing in defeat and removing herself from his lap. She feels cold again in the absence of his body heat.

They find a comfortable silence, both with their laptops on the couch. Betty’s feet rest on Jughead’s lap, partially occupied by Hot Dog. She thinks she’s never met such a large animal craving human contact at all times. It’s sweet, really, how much the dog absolutely adores Jughead. For a moment, Betty wonders if her face is as telling of her own adoration for her boyfriend. Then she’s admiring the way Jughead’s hair falls out of his beanie into his face as he concentrates on writing, watching his hands hover over the keyboard as he contemplates his next words.

Her attention is drawn back to her laptop as an alert pops up to notify her of a new email. It’s from Ethel, who is working on a piece about a soon-to-be-retired teacher reflecting on how Riverdale has changed over the years. Betty’s glad to receive the help, though she can’t help but miss when Jughead wrote for the Blue & Gold. After a quick read over what Ethel had submitted, she shoots an email back letting her know it should be all set to print in the next issue.

“You keep anything to eat around here?” Betty asks, moving to get up from the couch.

“There should be some stuff in the fridge to make a sandwich.” Jughead replies absentmindedly while his fingers fly over the computer keys. Betty makes her way over to the kitchen, finding bread, turkey, mayonnaise, and lettuce. As she turns to grab a plate, she almost trips over Hot Dog, who looks at her with wide eyes.

“Has the dog had anything to eat?” she shouts.

“He’s got plenty of kibble. Believe me, this dog eats more than I do. I’m trying not to give him any handouts, he’s got enough bad habits as it is...” Jughead responds. A small groan comes out of Hot Dog, only loud enough for Betty to hear, as he tilts his head up at her.

“Sorry,” she whispers, continuing making her sandwich. With each movement, Hot Dog’s eyes follow her hands, eager for her to slip up and drop a piece of something. As Betty takes the first bite, Hot Dog lets out a dramatic sigh. Betty rolls her eyes, glancing at Jughead on the couch, checking to see if he was still caught up in writing, before breaking off a piece of turkey and tossing it towards the dog. Hot Dog expertly catches the meat in his mouth, swallowing without chewing. Betty has to stifle a laugh as he takes the opportunity to move closer to her, resting his chin on her leg, ears forward.

Once she’s finished and cleans up, she rejoins Jughead on the couch. She figures he must be getting a lot done, seeing as he hadn’t even asked for a bite of her food. Both are surprised when Hot Dog jumps up to settle on Betty’s lap, one massive paw resting upon her thigh.

“I told you he just takes a little time to get used to people,” Jughead says, smiling and reaching over to give Hot Dog a scratch under the chin.

“Yeah, I guess we’ll be great pals after all.” Betty watches as the dog leans into Jughead’s hand before putting his head back down on her lap to sleep.