If anyone called him on it, Jeremy would say that he was only watching his opponents prepare so that he could have phenomenal rebuttals when the debate resumed. Being thought a cheater would be far better than the truth: that he was hopelessly into Little Annie Adderall. That he’d followed them here just to be able to watch her without pretending he held so much disdain for her.
He’d been into her since high school, back when she had braces and wore ugly glasses and was overweight, back when almost everyone else bullied her. But she didn’t even know they went to Riverdale together – she had always been too absorbed in Troy Barnes.
He used to be just as shy as her, back in Riverdale, but the main difference between them was that he had had friends, and she’d had absolutely no one. But his shyness had prevented him from ever approaching the dork he had a crush on, and it was his fault she hadn’t even known he’d existed.
Maybe if he’d been the asshole back then that he was now, he would have been able to manipulate her drug addiction thing to get her to need him, or something. Get her to come to him. But he didn’t then, and honestly, with the way he was so stupidly in love with her, he didn’t think he’d be able to do that to her now, even if she hadn’t gone to rehab.
She’d always been cute to him, but now, here, she was absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking. And he hated Winger so much in that moment. Jeremy couldn’t hear what they were saying in that study room, and it didn’t matter. All he knew was that Winger had said something to make her put her hair down and take off that nerdy cardigan.
Jeremy didn’t think he could hate the has-been lawyer any harder even if he tried.
City College needed a miracle to come back and win – Jeremy had severely underestimated his opponents. Somehow, overnight, Annie had lost her fear of being in the spotlight, and now she was suddenly confident and charismatic. It made her even more attractive, but he would not lose to Sizzle.
So he went off book.
Jeremy aimed his wheelchair at his opponents, and pushed forward at the fastest speed the thing was capable of. While he was ‘speeding’ towards them, he maintained eye contact with Annie – right up until Winger blocked his view when Jeremy threw himself into the air. Just as he’d planned, Winger caught him instinctively, and didn’t drop him.
“He hates me, yet he caught me,” Jeremy declared triumphantly, “Man is good.”
He smiled at the wild cheers coming from the City College side of the stands, knowing he had just won. But just when he was turning his head to tell Sizzle to put him back in his wheelchair, Annie, adorable Annie, gorgeous, brilliant Annie, kissed the bastard right on the mouth.
Winger dropped him to wrap his arms around her, and Jeremy’s heart fell to the stage floor just as hard as his body. Even when he heard her pull away and deliver her winning point – “He was horny, so he dropped him. Man is evil!” – he just laid there. He couldn’t bring himself to try to push himself up, not when the girl of his dreams had just kissed someone else.
And now those losers were gloating above him, and he could feel his cold heart break at the sound of Annie’s laughter. It had been a damn good move on her part, and an excellent point, but shit. Shit, he didn’t know he was capable of heartbreak, but that’s exactly what he was feeling.