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nights with alice cooper

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She has a plan mostly-hatched before FP’s truck is even halfway down the block.

Still, for a bit, Alice pretends like she’s not going to go through with it. She goes back into the quiet house and pours herself another glass of wine. She draws a hot bath, lights a candle, puts on some Debussy, and picks up the novel she’s been letting languish by her nightstand for the last three months.

She’s indulging in every clichéd “relaxing self-care” activity that she can think of, and she still has adrenaline coursing through her system. Try as she might to concentrate on something, anything else, her thoughts keep circling back to her exchange with FP outside, and the scene she’d observed through her binoculars earlier that evening. Who was the kid that FP had been talking to so intently in Archie’s room, and why did they both look so worried? Everyone knew that the Serpents were dealers; was their conversation connected to the uptick in drug-related arrests and ODs in Riverdale over the past month or two? Could it have anything to do with the Jason Blossom mystery, still unsolved?

After twenty-plus years as a reporter, Alice has learned to trust her instincts. And so she comes to a decision: for a story of this magnitude, it would be extremely foolish not to chase down every possible lead. Really, she thinks to herself as she rises out of the bath and begins briskly toweling off, staying here in her pleasant aerie and having a quiet soak would practically be professional malfeasance, wouldn’t it?

And as she bustles around the room, making her little preparations before departure, she most assuredly does not take pains to avoid looking at her marriage bed, where she has slept alone (or stayed awake fuming) every night for the past 3 weeks.

After all, this wasn’t about hurt feelings, or betrayal, or her own loneliness. This was about journalism.


--

It’s nearly midnight by the time she knocks on the door in Sunnyside. Alice shivers a little as she stands on the tiny porch, and it’s only partially from cold.

For a moment, she worries that her investigation scheme is going to stall out before it’s even truly underway. He could be asleep or passed-out drunk or not even there; or he could see that it’s her, and refuse to open the door. But then she sees a glimpse of his blue flannel through the thin rectangular window, and as the knob starts to rattle, she feels a little thrill of triumph. Quarry engaged.

When FP answers the door, it’s with a look of hope so pure that Alice hates herself for a split second. Of course, after that scene outside earlier tonight, he was going to think it was Jughead, the wayward lamb returned to the fold at last.

But then he registers who it is that’s standing before him, and the sweet expectance on his face shifts into something wary, amused, maybe even a little predatory. There’s still anticipation written all over his features, but there’s nothing pure about it now.

FP leans against the doorframe and crosses his arms. “What’s this, Alice? Having second thoughts about chasing me out of your neighborhood tonight? Decided that you needed to come all the way across town to harangue me some more?”

She mirrors his stance. “Maybe I’m here to apologize, FP. Did you ever consider that?”

He laughs derisively. “Alice Cooper, apologize? Please. I’ve known you for forty years, and the only time I’ve ever seen you apologize was in the pages of the Register. And you only did it then because they actually sued you and Hal for libel.”

“So which one of us is doing the haranguing now?”

He starts to answer and she cuts him off. “I’ll let you yell at me all you’d like, but can we do it inside? It’s colder than a witch’s tit out here.”

The casual obscenity does the trick. FP cracks a smile before he can help it, and then gives an exasperated sigh – seemingly half at her and half at himself.

“As if this night wasn’t fucked up enough already,” he mutters; and then, shaking his head in a gesture of concession, FP motions her past him into the living room of the trailer.

It feels like stepping back into her childhood – almost literally, in the sense that FP’s couch is probably from the late ‘70s. The room is small and tatty and clearly furnished out of the local charity bin, but Alice is pleased to note that it’s clean, at least. And much to her astonishment, there are no bottles or cans lying around. Trying to claw your way back into the ranks of the respectable poor, FP? she thinks to herself, and is surprised at the little flare of pride she feels for him in response to that thought.

A clean house might be easier to search. But she’d also have to be careful to put everything back in its place, then, later. After everything.

As soon as he shuts the door behind her, FP starts in on her again.

“You know, Sunnyside doesn’t have an official Neighborhood Watch, but you can be damn sure that you’ve been noticed, Alice.”

She rolls her eyes at him, but secretly she takes this as a good sign. A sullen and withdrawn FP, or a drunk and maudlin FP – these would have been harder to deal with. But a frustrated FP, already wound-up and looking for some way to vent his energies? Alice knows this mood. She knows it very, very well.

“Honestly, you’re so full of it, FP.” She doesn’t have to give him much to fuel the fire.

“Am I? But it’s a banner day, isn’t it, when Alice Cooper deigns to show her face on the South Side?”

He starts to pace in the small space. “How long’s it been since you’ve been back here, Alice? You never brought the girls here, I’m damned sure of that. Did you just forget how to get here from that big old house on the North Side? Or was Hal keeping you chained up there, under lock and key?”

He takes a step closer to her, and she can smell his cologne. Trying to make a good showing at his kid’s birthday party, no doubt. It’s the same stuff that he used to wear in high school – Brut. She knows, because she’d bought him the first bottle of the scent he’d ever owned, saving up her tips at Pop’s to buy it for him for Christmas one year.

With that shitty, sarcastic tone, he asks: “Does good old Hal know you’re here now, Alice?”

She raises her chin and looks him dead in the eyes. “No. He doesn’t. Because I kicked him out three weeks ago.”

That one sets him back on his heels, and he peers at her with genuine curiosity. “Oh? What’d the bastard finally do to cross you?”

Alice shakes her head sharply. “Absolutely not, FP. I am not here to talk about me and Hal.”

At that, FP gives a frustrated sigh and throws up his hands as if to dismiss her. “Fine, then. What the hell are you here to talk about?”

The question she’d been waiting for.

“I’m not here to talk at all, FP,” she says, and then unbelts her coat and shrugs it off, first one shoulder and then the other, letting it simply drop to the floor at her feet.

She’s got to give him credit for the poker face. Someone who didn’t know FP as well as she did might have thought that she’d miscalculated. That, after twenty-some years and two kids, her body wouldn’t qualify as sufficient temptation for her high school boyfriend to throw caution to the wind. And true, her hips weren’t as slim as they had been the last time that he’d seen her half-naked in a Sunnyside trailer.

But dammit, she knew exactly how deadly she looked in this black net-and-satin negligee. It’s why she’d bought it earlier that summer, planning ahead for her anniversary celebration. And while clearly she wasn’t going to be wearing it later this month in a room at the Plaza as she’d intended – fuck you, Hal – she would be damned if she was going to let a piece of lingerie this stunning stay folded up in tissue paper at the back of her closet.

Especially when she had what she knew would be an appreciative audience in front of her.

(And so many questions about Jason Blossom’s murder unanswered, of course.)

Anyway, FP’s sharp little inhalation of breath when she’d drawn the coat off her shoulders was as good as gold to her, even without the speculative light in his eyes now when he looked at her. She feels effervescent with certainty: this was going to happen.

He was still going to make her work for it though, apparently.

“Very Butterfield 8, Alice,” he smirked, leaning against the wall to admire her. “But what about the kids?”

That threw her. She hadn’t suspected that FP Jones, of all people, would play the concerned father card. For her part, she simply hadn’t considered it; honestly hadn’t spared Betty or Jughead a thought since the moment that she stood outside her house and watched the taillights of FP’s truck disappear into the night. Did that make her a bad mother? Was her single-mindedness a form of negligence?

A thought of Polly, in voluntary exile at Thornhill, bubbles up from nowhere, and it takes all of Alice’s self-control to cut that train of thought off before it can go any further.

Before she can stop herself, she blurts out exactly what she’s thinking, in a more petulant tone than she intended: “What about the kids? What Betty and Jughead don’t know won’t hurt them. I’m certainly not going to tell them. And it’s not like they’re going to come back here tonight and find us.”

A look of hurt flashes across his face briefly, and she realizes, too late, the mirrored truth that her words have thrown into sharp relief: Jughead wasn’t coming back here tonight; hadn’t been home here for weeks on end.

Shit. She was on the verge of botching this.

“FP, you know I didn’t mean –”

“Shut up, Alice,” he says, but there’s no rancor in his tone, only a rough hunger, and suddenly he has her pressed against the wall by the front door. He’s kissing her open-mouthed, possessive and impatient, one warm hand cupping her breast, and just like that, it’s Alice who feels like a kid again, making out in the stairwell between classes at Riverdale High.

She had expected to feel the satisfaction of a plan well-executed; a part properly performed. But then FP begins to mouth none-too-gently at the juncture between her neck and shoulder, and she shivers, her skin prickling with pleasure in a way that can’t be feigned.

He knows it too, dammit. She can feel him chuckle against her neck as he trails his fingers up one of her bare arms, admiring his own handiwork, before tracing down to teasingly thumb the peak of her breast through the thin fabric.

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Two could play at this game.

So she buries her fingers in his hair, takes hold, and yanks – just on the right side of too hard, just how he used to like it, and she’s rewarded with a sudden hiss and the answer of his teeth, harder now in the flesh of her shoulder.

“Not such a stick in the mud now, am I, FP?” she challenges him, starting to feel high on the anticipation of what’s coming.

He pulls up, breathing hard now, to stare her straight in the eye, and she figures the wild excitement she sees there is a fair match to her own. FP lets the question hang in the air, and holds her gaze as he skims a hand questioningly up the back of her leg, under the gown. And when he finds nothing there but the smooth expanse of her skin, he grins triumphantly and bends in to kiss her hard once again. Alice is ready for it, welcomes it, but she also can’t resist biting his lip just to underscore her point.

He pinches her thigh in retaliation, and when she yelps, he ruts against her just a bit, and God, if she needed confirmation that he wants her, she’s got it there, hard against her hip.

“Fine, Alice,” he concedes. “You’re not a stick in the mud. But” – and here he hitches her leg up and plants her foot on the arm of the battered recliner to give himself better access – “you’ve just proven my larger point.”

Despite spreading her wide open, he’s still only teasing her, evading her attempts to chase his fingers and guide them to where she wants them most.

And so maybe Alice doesn’t actually care what his larger point is. But she can’t let him think that he’s got her so distracted that nothing else matters but the agonizingly slow stroking of his fingertips against her.

So, with an effort, she grits out, “And what point would that be?”

“Exactly what I said earlier tonight. You try so hard all the time to make sure that everyone up there on the North Side only ever sees this.

He nudges her oatmeal cashmere coat with his clunky boot – and yes, even through her haze of her arousal, there is a tiny little voice in the back of her head that thinks You know, you’re probably going to have to get that dry cleaned later.

“You’re the head of the Neighborhood Watch, you’re the president of the PTA – oh, but Alice,” and he grips the black satin of her negligee in one hand and finally, thank God, slides two fingers right into her with the other – “Alice, we both know you’re still a very slippery snake underneath it all.”

He’s being completely ridiculous, and she prepares to tell him so, but just then he hooks his fingers, presses, finds that spot and strokes it just right, and Christ, fine, maybe correcting FP isn’t the most important thing in the world right now, especially if it means that he’ll keep doing that.

He does keep doing that, and her world narrows down into pure sensation. She thinks she must be making some noise, because after a few minutes he murmurs archly, “Guess you still like that, then?” And frankly, it’s kind of infuriating that he can still talk, let alone sound that smug, so she reaches down and fumbles around until she finds the shape of him, and gives him a squeeze through the rough denim, hard enough to make her point.

FP, the arrogant bastard, just laughs low and presses up into her touch without a hint of self-consciousness.

“What did you expect, Alice? Can’t blame me. The way you look right now, like something out of a dirty magazine? Desperate for it, dripping with it, almost there?"

And then he starts to circle his thumb, again and again, until she’s practically frantic. He’s not going to stop, and, oh fuck, she can’t either. And before she knows it, before she can stop herself – what about the plan, Alice? – she’s coming around his fingers, harder than she has in years.

FP keeps working her through it, kissing her temple and murmuring filthy words of encouragement, until she finally goes limp. Then, like a gentleman, he takes her weight, pinning her upright, keeping her from sliding down the wall into a heap like her poor abused coat.

As she gradually comes back to herself, she realizes she has to think fast if she wants to salvage anything of her original plan. So she twines herself around his neck, and kisses him hard, rubbing against him like a cat in heat, hoping that he’ll take the bait.

When they finally pause to take a breath, he smooths her hair behind one ear with a still-damp hand, and asks quietly, “More?” It’s the easiest thing in the world to press up against him, look up at him through her eyelashes, and confirm: “More.”

And if the light in his eyes starts something burning within her again too, so what?


--


She had felt how much he wanted her earlier; so Alice figures that when she’s naked and laid out on the drab bedspread in the tiny dingy bedroom, the main event’s got to be close at hand.

She’s wrong.

They spend the next ten minutes just making out like horny teenagers, kissing and touching until they’re both breathless, and it’s not until she’s finally slid one hand inside his unzipped jeans to close around him that he asks: “Do you have…you know, anything?”

She did. She had gone to the all-night pharmacy in Greendale to pick them up. Even concealed behind her largest pair of dark glasses, it had been a thoroughly paranoid and somewhat surreal experience. Hal had gotten the snip two months after Betty was born, so she hadn’t had to worry about condoms or the pill or a diaphragm in years. But she damn sure wasn’t planning to roll the dice tonight.

“In my purse...out there.” She gestures vaguely towards the living room with her free hand.

He leans down to kiss her again, bucking into her touch as he does so. “Keep that up and we won’t need them.”

Like hell. “I didn’t come all the way to Sunnyside just to give you a handjob.” To say the least. And she needs him thoroughly exhausted if this plan is going to work.

She can feel him grin into her shoulder. “You seemed pretty fine with third base a couple minutes ago.”

She pulls her hand out of his pants and smacks him lightly on the chest. “For shit’s sake, FP. Go get the condoms!”

And because FP’s a stubborn bastard, her order seems to have the opposite effect. He catches both her wrists in his hand, and then, settling himself more firmly between her legs, whispers low, “Tell me why, Alice.”

For a second, she thinks he’s figured her out – that he’s asking why she’s here – and her blood runs cold. But then he continues, whispering low in her ear: “See, I just want to hear you admit it: prim, perfect, poised Alice Cooper can’t wait one more minute to get fucked.”

She could say it. Hell, right now, it wouldn’t even be a lie.

But did he think he was in charge here or something?

So she looks up at him sweetly and flutters her lashes. “I’m just afraid you’re going to come in your pants before we get the chance to do anything else.”

And honestly, the look of outrage on his face feels even better than the seam of his jeans rubbing between her legs.

“Jesus, Alice, that was one time!”

“Well, it was supposed to be our first time.”

He lets go of her wrists and rolls off of her.

“I was fifteen! I’d never seen a girl topless before!”

“Well, I just wasn’t sure, that’s all,” she says airily, smirking at the ceiling. “It’s been a long time and I didn’t want to overwhelm you with my feminine charms.”

He snorts. “Might not have seen them in twenty years, but I sure thought about them,” he admits, reaching over to fondle her.

“Pervert,” she mutters, arching into his touch.

“Yup,” FP agrees unabashedly, ducking his head down to briefly capture one rosy tip between his teeth. “Let me prove it to you.”

He does.


--


It’s some time later – and her voice is noticeably breathier – when she next directs him to go get the condoms, and this time he goes to fetch them without complaint.

She cranes her neck to watch him leave. Then, as soon as he’s out of sight, Alice quickly rifles through the nightstand; slides a questing hand between the mattress and box spring; and peers behind the headboard as best she can. She’s not even quite sure what’s she’s looking for – Drugs? A murder weapon? Jason Blossom’s letterman jacket? But the most incriminating thing that she finds is an ancient copy of Easyriders magazine, tucked inside a comic book digest.

(The cover model is a bleached blonde in an electric-blue string bikini, straddling a Harley. Because of course it is.)

She’s bent over, rooting around in the darkness underneath the bed frame, when she hears FP clear his throat pointedly behind her.

“Not that I don’t appreciate the view, but what exactly do you think you’re doing down there?”

She straightens up casually, turns to face him, and holds out the single diamond earring she’d concealed in her hand before she started to search. “Dropped this while I was taking them out. It rolled underneath the bed.”

FP tilts his head at her pointedly. “Gonna take off all your jewelry then, Alice?”

She doesn’t want to acknowledge the weight of his gaze on her left hand. So instead she makes a little noise of non-committal, tilts her head alluringly, and beckons him over with her other, ringless hand. “Why don’t you come on over here?”

In return, he gives her a speculative, lecherous smile and makes the universal sign for ‘turn around.’

“You’ve inspired me, Alice. How about bent over, just like you were? Just pretend like you’re still looking for that earring.”

She rolls her eyes and makes an elaborate show of huffy acquiescence, but truth be told, the idea excites her. She hasn’t done it like this in years -- Hal always ended up complaining that his legs were going to give out, and so they’d end up in the missionary position like always.

She hopes it’s fucking freezing down at the Register office tonight.

Of course, now that she’s waiting there for him with her ass in the air, FP takes his sweet time. She’s wet enough as it is, but he still slicks both of them up with a few drops of the lube she’d bought. After a few passes of his fingers against her, she’s more than ready for him, and she tells him as much.

“Greedy greedy,” he says, rolling the condom on lazily, and she can just hear the smirk in his voice. “I ought to make you beg for it.”

And God, she can’t hide the little shudder of lust that idea sends through her. They’d played that game more than once or twice back in the old days, and the memories come flooding back: her thighs straining against his callused hands as his mouth hovered an inch above her. She remembered the heat of his breath against her, swollen and sensitive, as he whispered, “Say ‘please,’ Alice.” She’d returned the favor later that night, keeping him hovering just on the edge until he finally flipped them over, pinned her down and split her like an atom.

She might actually beg tonight, if it came to that. But she’s certainly not going to let him know that, and so she just shoots him a withering stare over her shoulder.

FP grins back, shark-like and unrepentant, and then finally his hands are on her hips and he’s sliding into her, just right and so full. She can hear him gasp in unison with her at the feeling of being joined like this once again, after so long apart. They’re older now, but it’s exactly like she remembered – still hot and dirty and perfect.

God, Alice,” she hears him murmur as they start to move together.

And she knows it’s petty, but as she rocks back, angling to take him deeper, she can’t help but say triumphantly, “See? You want it just as much as I do.”

His voice is low and rough with passion, but his words are unmistakably clear: “I never stopped wanting it, Alice.”

And what can she say to that?

So rather than reply, she just swallows hard, buries her face in the bedspread and urges him on.


--


When she opens her eyes, FP is gazing at her.

The room is completely dark, except for the light of the full moon shining in through the window behind the bed. It paints FP’s face in a silvery light, throwing the hollows of his cheekbones into sharp relief and turning his hair an inky black.

She’s not quite sure for a few seconds where she is, and she realizes distantly that that fact should alarm her. But instead she just feels very calm – serene, even – as she stares back at him across the pillow.

His eyes are soft and hazy with sleep, and his touch on her cheek is gentle as he reaches out to cup it.

“Thought I dreamed you, pretty girl,” he says quietly.

The old endearment unleashes a wave of tenderness within her, and she lets it carry her forward without stopping to question.

When she takes him in hand, he responds immediately, settling himself on top of her with a sigh of contentment. Still half in dreams, it’s the instincts from their earliest trysts that emerge; and so she maneuvers his knee between her thighs, hooks her own leg around him to keep him steady, and matches the rhythm that he’s setting against her hip.

He’d been inside her earlier that night, but this somehow seems more intimate. It’s certainly softer. His mouth is sweet and tender on hers, nipping and sipping at her lips, and she threads her fingers through his hair, stroking the back of his neck as they rock together.

The part of her brain that filters physical stimuli according to priority doesn’t seem to be fully online, and so Alice finds herself conscious of the suction and heat of his mouth on her breast one minute, and then more aware of the slide of him against her palm in the next. The scrape of his stubbled cheek against her chest, the rasp of the wool blanket against her calves, and the friction between her legs seem indistinguishable; and all of them together are bringing her higher and higher.

Lost in the kaleidoscope of sensation, she’s suddenly on the brink before she even realizes it, and she comes with a little cry, just before he spills into her hand, groaning her name softly.

In the minutes before she drifts back into a sated sleep, she knows with perfect clarity where and when she is: in the back bedroom of a Sunnyside trailer on a cold autumn night, fleeing the disappointing ruins of her own twenty-year marriage.

But somehow, in a much more real way, she’s also sixteen, parked down by Sweetwater River, flat on her back on a makeshift mattress of quilts in the back of FP’s truck, feeling the weight and warmth of him on top of her, watching the dappled pattern of sunlight through the leaves, and thinking about forever.


--

The next time Alice awakens, it’s in the cold gray light of dawn, and this time she knows exactly where she is immediately. The ache between her legs reminds her of what she’s done, and a prickly little pit of dread in her stomach reminds her of what she hasn’t yet managed to do.

She extracts herself gingerly from FP’s embrace, and then has cause to regret it almost immediately. How could she ever have forgotten how damn cold these trailers get? Lots of layers were the key, and even then they felt like an icebox from October to March. She’d been fine through the night, pressed head to toe against FP, who had always burned hotter than a furnace. But now here she is, naked as the day she was born, trying to keep her teeth from chattering so loud that they wake him before she can do what she came here to do.

Carefully, she swings her feet onto the floor, taking care to avoid the wreckage of the lamp on the floor. They’d knocked it off the nightstand somewhere in the middle of the second round and hadn’t bothered to stop and right it – and then, of course, they’d fallen asleep afterwards.

Both of them.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, Alice yells at herself silently. Soft. Weak. Pathetic. Unfocused.

She looks around the room quickly, both to survey the landscape and to clear her head. There’s no time to waste on self-recrimination, so she decides to start her search with what’s closest at hand.

She’s just slid the closet door fully open when she hears the rustle of the blankets behind her.

Alice whips around to find FP propped up on one elbow, fully awake, watching her with a sardonic smile.

“Looking for something, Alice? The bathroom’s down the hall.”

She’s so flustered that she blurts out the first thing that comes to mind. “My coat. I was looking for my coat.”

“I think you’ll find it’s out in the living room – you know, exactly where you dropped it last night.”

God dammit. Alice Cooper never gives up, but even she knows when it’s time to throw in the towel and make a tactical, temporary retreat. “Right. I…think I’ll freshen up at home. In my own clean shower. Where there’s more than three minutes of hot water.”

FP laughs shortly and dips his head. “Fine. Suit yourself, then.”

She can’t shimmy back into the negligee fast enough. The satin is freezing against her skin, and then her fingers are so cold that she fumbles with her earrings, and actually drops one for real this time. The diamond studs feel like tiny icicles in her earlobes, and she longs for the heated seats of the Buick.

And of course, FP doesn’t even pretend not to watch her the entire time. 

“Get everything you came for?” he asks, with false solicitousness overlaying the knowing sarcasm in his voice.

You gold-plated double-dipped motherfucker, she thinks, realizing that he's figured out her plan - maybe had her figured out all along. Why, oh why, could FP never be stupid when it was actually convenient?

To save face, she forces an approximation of a bored drawl: “Sure – plus a few things I didn’t ask for.” Pointedly, she examines the collection of lovebites that litter her neck and shoulders. “Subtle as ever, FP.”

Christ, and what was she going to do about those? The idea of driving back to the pharmacy in Greendale – this time for triple-strength concealer – was frankly appalling.

“Snakes bite,” FP says smugly. “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

She absolutely refuses to endure FP's snake-centric mode of repartee at this hour of the morning; and she prepares to tell him that in no uncertain terms, when he abruptly says, “Get home safe, Alice,” and pointedly rolls over to face away from her.

He’s dismissing her, she realizes. Her shiftless alcoholic reprobate gang member ex-boyfriend (one-night stand, Alice’s little internal voice of journalistic accuracy says) is actually dismissing her.

She can’t decide whether she wants to slap him for the insolence, or to jump back into bed, fuck his brains out, and then leave quickly enough that even he can’t deny that she is clearly the one walking out on him.

But the room is growing lighter by the minute. She doesn’t have time for any of this – she needs to get home and get herself cleaned up before Betty wakes up to find her sneaking in, smelling like sex and wearing nothing but lingerie under her coat.

In the end, the sheer unmitigated horror of that image is enough to propel her straight down the hallway and out the front door of the trailer, without even thinking about stopping to search the living room on her way out.


--


A short time later, her composure at least partially regained, Alice rounds the corner onto Elm Street. Her North Side neighborhood is the very picture of peaceful dawn tranquility, and she slips into her house, up the stairs, and safely into the sanctuary of the master bathroom without seeing another soul. Thankfully, her daughter’s bedroom door remains shut the entire time.

Ten minutes after that, a skinny figure in a crown-shaped beanie climbs out of Betty’s window and down the trellis to the ground, where it crosses the street furtively, and disappears through the front door of Fred Andrews' house. 


--


A long, hot shower helps Alice regroup and restrategize. Yes, she has to concede that last night had ultimately been a miserable failure in terms of gathering information about the criminal activities of the Serpents, and any connection they might have to the mysterious death of Jason Blossom. Still, Alice is a professional reporter: she knows very well that investigative journalism requires perseverance. It might take several different plans to uncover it; but if you wanted it enough, there was always a way to get to the truth.

She’s wearing a soft lavender high-necked sweater later that morning when she sets the tray down by Betty’s bed, and says, almost offhandedly, “So, I saw you invited Jughead’s dad to your little soiree last night."