The first thing that Betty noticed was the overwhelming smell of smoke. Cigarette and marijuana both lingered though the air of the expensive two-story house in Greendale. She suppressed the want to cough as second-hand smoke filtered down into her lungs. Veronica grabbed her hand and lead her deeper in the sea of bodies and, stopping at a table with twenty different liquor bottles littered about, quickly pouring a shot of whatever was closest and pressing it into Betty’s hand.
“Drink up B!”’ Veronica said as she downed her own small glass of clear liquid. Taking a deep breath, holding it for five seconds and breathing it out slowly, Betty tried to find the original drive for agreeing to come here in the first place.
-Three hours earlier-
”Come on Betty! We only have three months of senior year left! This is the time to make memories, and be crazy and spontaneous!”
Her best friend was already stripping out of her black Vera Wang dress to hunt for more ‘party acceptable attire’. Betty’s eye flickered from the plush carpet to the full-sized mirror.
“I don’t know, Vee. We won’t know anyone there.” Betty played with the hem of her blush sweater as Veronica reemerged from the walk in closet in only a maroon lace bra and matching panties.
“That’s the point, Betty Boop! We won’t have any expectations, no judgments, you can be whoever you want to be tonight.”
You. The word wasn’t lost on Betty. Veronica was so confident in who she was. She knew her own self-worth and would expect nothing less. She carried herself with grace and pride. A Lodge expected quality. Betty glanced back at the mirror taking in her own form. Clean, simple, perfect. Her slicked back ponytail and minimal makeup made for a professional look. It made Betty’s stomach roll uncontrollably.
“We can have a few drinks, dance with some worthy suitors, then have Smithers come pick us up. No big deal. Trust me Betty it will be a night to remember.” Veronica adjusted her pearls after slipping on a form-fitting maroon dress. Betty wished she had the confidence to wear something like that. She wished she had the control.
“Ronnie, I have nothing to wear to a party like this.”
The dark-haired heiress gave her friend a pointed looked though the vanity mirror.
“Don’t even start that crazy talk. You know what’s mine is yours, darling.” She walked back into the closet.
Betty giggled. “You said suitors? What would Archie think?”
“Archie is on probation after that stunt he pulled with the rest of the Bulldogs last week.”
Memories of the football team hanging girls’ underwear from the school rafters crossed Betty’s mind. After all was said and done it came out it hadn’t been a juvenile panty-raid like they wanted the town to think. They’d been store bought. What a sight that had been.
Veronica laid a black silk dress on the bed. “Besides, I can look all I want.” she said sweetly.
Betty walked over and ran her finger against the soft material.
‘Nice girls don’t wear black Elizabeth.’ echoed in her head.
A fire ignited in her eyes and she grabbed the dress walking to the bathroom.
“Pick me out some shoes, Ronnie.” Betty was determined to take control. One way or another.
Veronica clapped her hands in excitement. “I promise, Betty, tonight will be a night you will never forget.”
Betty scrunched her nose at the bitter taste of the alcohol in her cup. Quickly taking the second shot, she was pulled onto the dance floor by her raven-hair friend. Betty lost herself to the dancing, letting the buzz wash over her. The sun had fully set now and as the moon taking its place, the party was in full swing. She had lost count of how many shots Veronica had placed in her hand. Betty had yet to see one face she recognized. It was refreshing and unnerving all at once. Betty dabbed at the beads of sweat forming on her hairline, careful not to mess up her makeup.
Her hand comb though her hair, wanting to bring it up into a ponytail.
No, she thought. She dropped her arms angrily and started looking around the mass of bodies for her friend. Veronica looked content being pulled back and forth between one good looking collage boy to the next but Betty’s heart beat wouldn’t slow down. Panic crawling its way up her throat.
“Ron, I need to go cool down.” Veronica’s glazed eyes nodded towards her blonde friend.
Betty turned on her heel and went to find the back door. Pushing past an unknown number of people, she started to taste copper on her tongue and she couldn’t breathe.
Trying to suppress the polite ‘Excuse me' and ‘Sorry' pulling at her throat.
‘Nice girls are not rude, nice girls wait patiently until they came get by.’ Alice Cooper’s voice was still front and center in Betty’s mind and she refused to give in. Not tonight. Betty needed to be in control of Betty. At least for a night.
Stepping on the tile floor of the kitchen Betty noticed a hand holding a freshly filled red solo cup. She mentally categorized the grease stain around his finger nails and knuckles in her brain. The lean fingers making her mouth water more than the bitter liquid in the cup.
She squared her shoulders still feeling as though her heart would bust out of her chest. She needed alcohol, she needed fresh air. Anything to make the haunting voice of her mother stop. Betty felt like she was going to start hyperventilating. She walked past the hand and grabbed the drink, whispering and small thank you without missing a beat. Bee lining for the back door, she didn’t bother to look at the face of the person whose drink she stole right out of their hand.
She walked through the door and cool air smacked her in the face. The backyard was empty.
Betty bent over placing her free hand on her knee. Breathing deeply. Panic and anxiety starting to overpower the alcohol in her veins.
‘Nice girls put on a smile, stress is weakness., Nice girls don’t steal strangers’ drinks. Nice girls don’t drink.’
She Betty quickly straightened and downed the entire contents of the red cup. Anything to increase the buzz and drown out her mother’s voice. Tears stung her eyes and she dropped the cup onto the grass. Wrapping her arms around herself, she dropped her head back, to stare at the stars overhead.
Suddenly, smoke engulfed her, dancing across the back of her bare shoulders. She froze, taking in a deep breath to steady herself. Nicotine filter though her nose from the second hand smoke. It made her head swim at how inmate it was to breathe in something that was just exhaled by someone else. She could feel the heat of the body standing behind her. She cursed herself for not hearing the footsteps. Praying that whoever it was hadn’t just seen her small break down.
Neither of them moved, standing there in each other personal space, not saying a word. A stand off on who would break first. The extra drink hitting Betty caused her curiosity to get the best of her.
"It's rude to stare."
A dark chuckle sounded behind her. She felt pin picks dance over her skin.
"It’s rude to steal someone drink."
His voice was borderline sinful. She felt the air leave her lungs again, her panic coming back in full force. Breathing in short quick breaths.
The butt of his cigarette flew over her shoulder hitting the ground. She watched the smoldering flame while another ignited in her stomach. His hand grazing her hip bone, not an inch of space between them.
"I'm sorry," She she whimpered.
He nuzzled his nose behind her ear breath in the smell of her shampoo.
"You know common sense should kick in and say don't drink unlabeled liquids," He he warned. "There could have been anything in that drink. That's how pretty girls get hurt at places like this."
Betty's eye widened in fear. Telling her self how stupid she was, the panic attack hit with no remorse.
"Please....don't hur.. hurt me." She clamped her hand over her month to keep the sob in. Tears running freely down her cheeks. She doubled over, his arm wrapping around her torso to keep her off the ground.
He pulled her flush against him.
"Shhhhhh. I won't hurt you, you're safe. I promise." His lips grazed her ear.
She believed him. Grabbing the jersey sleeve of his jacket to anchor herself. Her breathing evened out eventually. Not knowing how long they stood like that wrapped in his arms. , Betty pressed her weight into his chest. Feeling his muscles against her back. , she took another deep breath and rested her head in on his shoulder.
"That's it. Breathe, baby."
His breath hit her cheek. A mix of mint and tobacco.
"Who are you?" What are you?
He chuckled again. "I'm the king, baby."
Betty managed a laughed at that. "King of Greendale? I didn’t know they had a monarchy."
She looked down at his arm enclose around her. His hand holding fist fulls of her black silk dress. Those hands.
She ran her fingers over his calloused ones. He laces his finger with hers.
"No." He spoke against her shoulder.
"I'm not the king of Greendale."
She giggled and his whole body stiffen.
A new tone came over his voice. "You need to go home, now."
It was a demand. A tone that order respect and compliance with no hesitation.
"I rode with my friend. I can't go home, my mother would slit my throat if she knew I was out."
"Do you live close?"
Rationality overcame Betty. "I don’t know you. I'm not telling you where I live."
His grip tightened around her waist. One of his hands snaked around her throat. Holding her head against his shoulder.
The solid demanding tone came back full force. "I don't want you in a place like this tipsy. It's not safe."
Betty snorted. "Are you gonna take me all the way back to Riverdale then? That's a 45 minute drive."
He released her throat and grabbed both of her hips, spinning her so they were face to face for the first time. Betty almost choked. His eyes carved into her soul and she felt naked standing in front of him. His cold blue cut though her dull green.
"Text your friend and say you’re not feeling well, you found a ride home. Not to worry about you." Betty grabbed her phone without hesitation.
His arms still locked around her.
Betty tilted her chin up. "Just so you know I'm not sleeping with you."
His grinned made him look younger, care free. The lack of smile lines didn’t go unnoticed by her. "I don't expect you to, baby." He grazed his nose down her jaw line.
"I can't go home. Where will you take me?"
Betty closed her eyes. Again, Betty's grooming kicked in. She stepped away from him. His arms not letting her go far. "I'm not going somewhere I don’t know with a man who won't even tell me his name."
His eyes hardened to steel. "I'm trying to get you safe. Drinking while trying to suppress a panic attack is stupid enough. But being far from home with none you know around? That beyond ignorant."
Betty pushed her hands on his chest trying to make more space between them. Her muscles rejecting the idea. Even now that he had called her stupid and ignorant in the same sentence. Her body was pulling to be pressed to his.
"I had to get it under control. You triggered it."
He roughly pulled her against him. Her arms grabbing his jacket.
"Don’t lie to me again."
His lips were just inches from hers.
Betty faulted her face resembling a child who just got in trouble. How did he know?
She pressed her forehead to his shoulder. Exhaustion start to creep in her bones.
He stepped to the side, keeping one arm wrapped around her, walking them around the side of the house. Betty stumbled.
"Fuck. Veronica is never picking out shoes for me again."
Suddenly she was scooped up into his arms. Him carrying her bridal style. Betty's face flushed and how effortlessly he lifted her. Not missing a step.
"Thank you," she mumbled. Trying to hide her flush against his neck. "You know I have to be back in Riverdale by tomorrow. Right?"
He smirked again. "We are going back tonight. I have to get home too, ya know."
"You're from Riverdale? I've never seen you before."
His face fell slightly. "I'm from the Southside."
"Oh. So you go to Southside High?"
Curiosity flicker through her face. Surprising him there was no disgust.
They stopped at a black car with tinted windows. He gently placed her back on her own feet. Digging in his pocket for the keys. He open the door for her and she hesitated. Looking into his eyes for a final reassurance that she wasn't making a mistake. He grabbed the back of her neck.
"You trust me." A statement. Not a question.
Betty still nodded her head. Climbing into the car. He closed the door and walked around the front. He paused at the driver side headlight, making eye contact with her, his face looked angry. Pulling his phone out of his front pocket, he answered it. Betty couldn't hear the conversation but she desperately wanted to. He paced in front of the car. Pressing the phone against his shoulder to light a cigarette. His eyes kept flickering back to her as he blew out a curl of toxic smoke.
Betty replayed their conversation in her head. She laughed. He spoke of common sense? Common sense is not to leave alone with a guy you don’t know. Betty was in trouble. His eyes meet hers again. She melted against the soft leather.
His voice got louder, still not loud enough to make out any words. He stilled, placing the phone back against his shoulder and cigarette hanging from his lips. He pulled off his navy ball cap and ran his fingers though his hair. Dark waves dropped to his forehead. The street light cast an eerie glow around him. Looking down, holding the phone he stubbed out the last of his smoke with the heel of his boot. Pushing his hair back and adjusting his hat back on, one curl falling though the back hole and onto his forehead. Jesus Christ. Betty was in big trouble.
He barked a few last things into the phone and hung up. When he pulled the driver’s door closed, his glaze was still dark. With exhaust becoming more powerful she wrapped her arms around herself to fight off a shiver.
"Are you cold?"
"Yes, this dress was a bad idea." The silk did nothing to help her retain body heat. The hem slid up against her thigh.
"I think it was a great idea." He winked at her.
Her face flushed again. He reached in the backseat and pulled out a leather jacket. Carefully placing it over her shoulders. She whispered a thank you as she push her arms though. A heavy solid item pressed against her left side as the jacket settled against her body. He started the car, turning down the loud rock station playing though the speakers. A humming bass was all that was noticeable when Betty pulled the jacket out from her side to look in the interior pocket. His finger was still grabbing the volume control when he froze.
"Shit," he said under his breath.
Betty looked at him then at the item pressing against her. She took a deep breath. This should scare her. She should be scared of the whole situation. Her glaze locked with his again. Their eyes speaking volumes more than there their actually verbal conversation. He placed his hand on thigh almost trying to comfort her.
Her eyes widened more at the knowledge that he knew who she was then the fact he had a gun in his jacket pocket.
"You know who I am." Her eyebrows raised.
A glimmer of playfulness in his eyes. Both almost entirely forgetting about the deadly weapon she had just found. "Everyone knows who you are, Betty."
Betty didn’t find it so hard to believe. Cheerleader, student council, volunteer, she even worked a summer at Pop’s last year. Everyone had seen or heard her name somewhere.
Betty pulled the gun out of the pocket. It seemed much too big for her slim hands. He gently squeezed her leg. Betty had a million question running though her head. This man was dangerous, she knew that from the moment he spoke. Dangerous in the sense that he could easily make Betty lose her head. She felt a comfort and calm around him she had never experienced. She had known him for all of thirty minutes, but she could feel it deep down in her bones. If she lost him now she would complete lose it, and she didn’t even know his name. She leaned over the middle console. Her lips brushing his ear like he had done to her earlier.
"I trust you."
Placing the gun carefully in his lap. Her fingers entwined together in her own lap. He grabbed the gun like it was part of him. His hand fitting perfectly around the handle. He stared at it, knowing the significance of the gesture. She trusted him and didn’t even know him. She felt it too. She felt that pull between them. He’d been afraid that maybe he was the only one who felt it. He didn’t do fear, not since he was 11-years-old. He slid the gun in -between his seat and the door. Figuratively putting that part of his life as far from her as he could.
He was from the Southside, a place known for being rough and dangerous. Maybe everyone carried guns from there. Betty wasn't naive enough to believe that, but it help quiet the other voice screaming at her. She needed him. More than she realized in that moment. Betty wasn't naive, the unknown snake on her back said oother side.
"What's your name?" she asked again quietly.
He paused, scared she was about to go running from the car screaming. She had seen his gun, she trust him. He needed to trust her. To a point.
The last name she had hear Kevin speak about. His father relating the name and the Southside of town as the same thing.
"Okay?" He held a cold gaze at her.
She simply smiled and bucket her seat beat. Another symbolism that spoke volumes.
He smiled at her and pulled the car into drive.
"Okay." he stated again.
Pulling the car onto the dim street. Driving past the house this all started at.
35 miles to Riverdale
They rode 10 miles in comfortable silence. Finally pulling onto the two lane road, a straight shot to Riverdale from here on out. The blue glow from the radio wash over his features. Betty couldn’t help but stare. He finally took off his hat and threw it on the dash. Taking out another cigarette while cracking the window. She giggled when the wind caught his unruly curls.
He glance out of the corner of his eye.“What’s so funny?”
She worked her bottom lip between her teeth. Flicking her eyes to stare out at the road in front.
His eyebrow raised. Not believing her. He took another drag, the smoke streaming into the fresh air. His blue eyes glowed under the light. Betty didn’t think she would be able to handle it if he looked her directly in the eye. Flashes of Polly and her sneaking outside to smoke when she was younger came back. Polly rebelling against her mother in anyway possible. Dragging Betty down the rabbit occasionally. Picking up the pack from the cup holder she pulled one out. Bring it to her lips. Jughead watched interested, not saying a word. Betty then pulling the lighter up and igniting it. She pulled smoke into her, successfully lighting the toxic stick. A smirk graced his lips. Betty didn’t know how someone could look so devilish handsome with messy hair and a plain black shirt.
“How old are you?” she wonder out loud.
“19” He answer mechanically.
“And you’re a senior at Southside High?”
“Is this a questionnaire?” It sounded almost to harsh coming from him.
Betty was wasn’t jarred by his response. She could almost physically feel the walks he had up. She assumed it was almost natural to be defensive when growing up in Southside.
“Please don’t do that.”
Jughead’s month when slack.
“You don’t have to be so guarded with me. It’s just us here.” Betty surprised her self at the inmate comment. As if he was suppose to speck to her as if she was an old friend. She hoped the darkness concealed the blush blooming on her cheeks. She quickly pulled a small draw from her cigarette. Exhaling just as quickly.
Still surprised by her smoking.
“Do you smoke a lot?”
She shook her head. “I haven’t in almost a year. Ever since my older sister moved out.”
His mouth shaped into a tight line. “Don’t smoke the whole thing. You'll get sick to your stomach.” That demanding voice back.
“Have you ever asked instead of tell?” Betty pushed.
His eyes snapped to hers briefly.
Betty nodded taking a finally drag, tossing the fire out the window.
“How are you a senior and 19?”
“How are you so nosey?” Jughead deflected her question trying to be lighter about it.
“Well this is a long drive. Figure we could have some conversation along the way. Plus you got to see my mini break down back there. I should get something.” Betty said matter-of-factly. The alcohol still over powering her politeness.
He sighed loudly. Throwing his cigarette out and rolling up the window. “I got held back my freshman year.”
Betty faced him now, having her full attention.
Hoping he wouldn’t have to go in detail. She said quietly waiting for him to finish. His knuckles turn white around the sterling wheel.
“Sharing stuff about yourself is difficult for you, isn’t it?” she stated.
“People assume enough about me because my last name. Sharing just gets you hurt.”
A flicker of something crossed his face. It Betty was turned to face him she would have missed it. She rested her hand over his. Gripping the gear shift. His whole body when rigid, heat pool between there hands.
“You don’t have to tell me anyway you don’t want too Juggie. I just want to know more about you.”
He took a deep breath. Letting her soft words filter though him.
“I got into a bad fight at school. Put the other boy in the hospital for a week. It was my last strike. I got shipped off to juvie the next day. Spent 3 months there.”
Jughead refused to look at her, refused to see the disappointment or judgment. Instead she smiled, almost giggled.
“When I was a freshman I was being bullied by these two girls. They caught me in the bathroom alone one day. So I panicked and kicked one of them in her crouch and ran away.”
Jughead looked at her like she had grown a second head with horns. He doubled over in laughter. This was the first time he really remember having to whip tears from his eyes over something funny.
“Im… I’m sorry.” Trying to catch his breath.
Betty was laughing too.
“No it’s okay. It’s really funny honestly. I got detention for 3 days. My mother was livid.”
Betty dropped her eyes to her hands, fingering the bracelet on her wrist. “I was grounded for 2 months. That’s when my mother put a lock on the outside of my bedroom door."
“Nice girls don’t get into fights Elizabeth. You’ll ruin the Cooper name in this town.”
Betty repeated her mother words in her sickly sweet tone. That tone set chills over Betty. Jughead reached over and laced there fingers together.
“I’m sorry that happen to you. What happen to the girls who were bullying you?” he sincerely asked.
Betty squeezed his hand. Her nails unintentionally biting into his hand. She let out a short breath.
“My mother started counting my calorie intake after that. She said that if I lost 5 pounds then the girls would leave me alone.”
She put on a well trained ‘Nice girl Cooper’ smile. Her green eyes lacking the sparkle that made it real.
“Its no big deal.”
Jughead slammed on the break. It jarring Betty forward against her seat belt and her free hand catching the dash. He shifted the car up into park.
“Jughead? What’s wrong?”
Betty brain starting to panic, had she said something wrong? His hands flexed while he tried to breath though the rage licking his veins.
“Juggie?” the nickname falling from her lips in a plea for him to tell her what’s wrong.
Suddenly pulled his hand free of her and popped her belt clip. Betty’s eyes widen in fear. Was he going to tell her to get out on the side of the road? Was she going to have to walk home? He grabbed both her thighs, hoisting her over the console. Both knees digging into the leather of his seat, straddling his hips. She thought her eyes were going to pop out. Not being able to catch her breath, her hands shaking as the grabbed onto his jacket. Jugheads head hung low, hair covering his eyes. His hands still resting on her thighs. She cupped his jawline, silently begging for him to look at her.
Jughead let out a long gush of air. Trying to get his body under control. He was angry when she told him about what her own mother said to her. But that smile is what pushed him over the edge. That fake, years of grooming smile. Betty Cooper was a girl who could light up an entire palace with her smile but she didn’t feel it inside. That broke him. The rage to destroy the people who did this to her locked his muscles. He needed her to know. She deserves to know.
“Jug?” she begged once more.
Her heart beating so fast she felt as if it was only catching every other beat.
His fingers dug harder into her hip while his other hand clamped on to the back of neck. Fingers twisting into her hair. Her eye lids closed and a small whimper escaped her mouth at the possessiveness of the action. Both his and hers skin burn with the need to touch. Betty’s mind fogging over forgetting every worry and insecurity. The only primal thought able to sharpen into clarity was the simple word yes.
His lips grazing over hers. She took a sharp inhale as his hand grazed around to the small of her back under the leather of his jacket. Leaving her skin sizzling with need, the thin silk the only thing separating them. He pressed her roughly against him. Their chests and hips flush against each other. The need to be as close as possible overwhelming. Still holding her head in place he lightly brushes his lips back across her again. Betty opened her eyes, lust weighting them down.
“Betts" His voice almost purring.
She wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Juggie, kiss me already."
He pulled her head back with a control force. Running his lips across the ivory skin of her neck. “I’ll kiss you when your mine. That will be soon enough baby.”
Betty tried to wiggle her hips against the hardness she felt pressed on her core. The tips of his finger pressed into her hard, stopping her moment.
“Betty, you are fucking beautiful.”
The tipsy feeling from the drinks earlier wash blown out of her body by the weight of his words. A sob stung her throat and tears pooled in her eyes. This was insane, she had only meet him tonight and yet every cell in her body hummed his name. Her hands found purchase in his hair, running her finger nails lightly over his scalp. He pulled her so her ear was against his mouth.
His breath against her ear caused her to lose any sense of forces. A moan falling from her lips instead the words he wanted to hear.
“Come on Betts. Tell me your beautiful.” His finger releasing and running though her hair.
“I…..I'm….”His lips traveled over her collar bone. Her voice getting lost again.
Suddenly Jughead snapped his hips upward pressing directly against heat. Jolting her body making a scream vibrated her vocal cords. Both hands slamming against the roof of the car. Her head was spinning causing her breathing to become ragged. He peppered kisses against her chest, going as low as her deep neck line for allow.
“I’m not a patience man Miss Cooper.”
She pushed back down on him. Dropping her head down she caught his glaze, flexing her hands against the velvet of the roof.
“I’m beautiful.” She whispered. Her tears finally breaking free. He hummed in approval. She dropped her forehead to rest against his. Her figures tracing his jawline. They held each other for a moment, heat still almost palpable.
“Come baby, let’s go.” He lifted her back into her seat. Betty’s eye barely opening. The extreme rollercoaster of tonight emotions hitting her. She folded her arms over the middle console. She dug her nose in the sleeves of his jacket. Leather and the faint hint of grease was the last thing she remember before darkness came. Jughead’s eyes linger on her sleeping form. He pulled the car into drive. The tires moving back onto the dark two lane road. He draped his arm along her back, wanting to just touch her. She curled her back into his open hand. What is she doing to me?
15 miles to Riverdale.
How was she going to react to the truth? The gun obviously planting some seed in her mind of my life. The word serpent hadn’t been mentioned yet. Maybe she already knew I play a rather large roll in the gang? His inner monolog stopping when he noticed his fingers tracing the lower snake head on his jacket. He spared a glance away from the road looking at the angel asleep next to him, wrapped in his Southside Serpent jacket.
His eyes darken at the sight. Blood pumping though his temples.
“Mine.” He all but growled out while grabbing her hip.
She sighed in her sleep at his touch again. The small sound shook Jughead from the heat behind his eyes. Taking deep breaths her realized his hands were shaking. Fuck. What is she doing to me? You don’t fucking get close to people. That’s a weakness you can’t afford. She can’t get hurt. Not her. Twisting the steering wheel in his hand, he cursed himself for following her outside in the first place.
His original plan was to intimidate her. Thinking she was just another spoiled rich bitch looking to get high. As soon as she came into sight he saw the signs of an anxiety attack boiling in her. He felt his heart pull painfully when she doubled over trying to catch her breath. Throwing the liquor back he saw her profile. Betty Cooper.
He looked at her again, sleep completely over taking her.
Betty fucking Cooper. Riverdale golden girl. Of course he had hear the name before, seen her picture as the Blue and Gold editor. Her doing her best to impress the self entitled, snobs of Northside. That’s what he thought.
He made the comment about her living close only to see if she would tell a stranger where she really lived. After holding her though her attack he had to be the one to get her home. He had to make sure she was safe. A sense of ownership floored him as he picked her up, carrying her to the car. Fuck. I own all of Southside. No one spits in that side of town without my fucking permission. His hand flexed against her again. This. This is different. He finally saw the lights for the Town with PEP! He hesitated longer then he should he should at the green light. The towns main road feeding right into the dividing line.
North and Southside.
Green yards, Sunday family dinners, and financial success. A complete 180 flip to the chain link fences, alcoholic parents, and stealing food to feed his little sister. Two different up brings in the same car. It shocked him to see the same outcome. Betty was just as broken as Jughead. He had seen it.
His mind still comparing the difference of his life or hers when he pulled in the back parking lot of the White Wyrm. Betty would be safe on the Northside, away from the devils that follow with his job title. He snorted to himself.
People called him that on this side.the only devil Betty needed protected from was himself.
My mother put the lock on the out side of my bedroom door.
My mother told me to lose 5 pounds and maybe then the bullies would stop.
He ran his finger though her hair. How was the worst case devil in her life now? Him or her mother? Death was an all to real fear in his life. Hopefully not her mothers. No matter how he tried to break himself down in his head, Jughead couldn’t let her go. Not now that he’s touched her. Felt her move against him. It took all his will power and some thanks to God he stopped her grinning on him. He wouldn’t have been able to control himself then.
Controlling everything in his life and everyone else life kept him calm. Grounded. He snorted again realize he thought of Gods help. He just compared his own self to Satan. He turned the key off and silence filled the cab. Betty’s soft snores was the shining light to the turmoil in his mind. He walked around the car scoping her into his arms for the second time that night. Walking towards the back entrance to his up stairs apartment he kicked the door closed with his heel. Thanking God again for this angel, safe, in his arms.
Thank you guys so much for loving this!
The first warning bell rang though out Riverdale High on Monday morning. Betty Cooper was trying to decide if she needed to take her Chemistry notes notes now or if she would have time to grab them before 3rd period.
“Elizabeth Marie Cooper!”
She closed her locker, spotting her best friend heading her way. A determined look in her eyes with Kevin hot of her heels.
“Betty, you’ve been ignoring calls since Sunday morning.” A perfectly arched eyebrows raised.
“What happen Saturday night?”
“Yeah Betty! We need details.” Kevin grabbed his cross body bag while anxiously wanting to hear some drama.
Betty took a deep breath. She knows they mean well but the fear of them being judgmental stalled her words.
“Well… guys I mean….okay. Okay I’ll talk to you guys at Pop’s after school I promise. You have to swear to me you will listen okay.”
“Oh god. This must be good!” Kevin looked as if it was Christmas morning.
Betty phone buzzed in her back pocket.
“Okay guys see you at lunch! Gotta go!”
Her white kids squeezed though the halls as she ducked into an empty class room. Looking at the simple crown emoji on the caller ID. Her hands started to shake with excitement.
She thought her heart was going to beat out of her chest and fly around the room.
“Hey Juggie.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. She pressed her books closer to her chest. Fearing someone would hear her.
“What are you doing after school?”
“That’s a little corny Mr Jones. Is that the best pick up line you could think of?” Betty giggled into the phone.
Jughead chuckled “It’s a little late for pick up lines, don’t ya think?”
The statement made Betty’s quiver. They had known each other for little over 48 hours and she already knew she was in deep trouble. Jughead Jones was become a new addiction of hers. Thoughts of Sunday morning flooding back to her.
Waking up in a strange bed was a new experience for Betty. She stretched her arms above her head. The dull ache of a hangover starting. She huffed, feeling defeated. The room glowed around her from the sun behind the blinds. Slowly sitting up her brain registered the low drumming sound of a shower running. The blanket on the other side of the bed flipped over her side. Imagines of Jughead last night flipped though her memory. She eased her upper body to lay on his side. Still warm, she dug her nose into the sheet. Spice and leather were becoming her new favorite scent. The shower stopped along with her breathing. A few moments later Jugheead came into view, only wearing a pair of black sweat pants. She felt her mouth water at the sight of the tattoos littering his arms. His eyes locked with hers. His lashes still spider webbed from the water.
“Good Morning.” He smirked while walking over the turn on the coffee pot.
The dark script below his left collar bone standing out to her. “Familia Anta Omnia.”
“Family Over All.”
His eyebrows rose at her translation. “You know Latin?”
She tooking in the surroundings of his apartment. Book shelves that bowed under the weight, a large flat screen hanging from the wall, a professional looking speaker system on either side. A simple black suede couch in front of her. Her eyes froze on the on the vibrant green snake. His jacket tossed over the back of couch. Jughead turned to lean against the counter. He noticed what she was staring at and crossed his arms. His face harden as she didn’t say anything, only stared at the same. For the first time in years he didn’t know what to say and it made his skin crawl. He let out a deep breath that made his nostrils flare.
He walked over and sat at the foot of the bed, blocking her view of the jacket.
“I’m sorry! I’ve just never….seen one up close before.” She dropped her head in embarrassment.
“Does it make you nervous?”
Betty ran her tongue over her bottom lip then pulling it against her teeth. “Alittle to be honest.”
“Betty, Do you know who I am?” he asked implying if she knew his title. “You didn’t act scared when I told you my last name. But people know me, know what I do.”
“I’m not scared of you.”
They stared at each other for a beat.
“Okay.” He felt the muscles in his shoulder loosen.
“Okay.” She whispered back. A small smile playing on her lips.
She pulled the blanket off of her legs realizing she only wore on of his over sized t shirts. A deep blush on her cheeks she went to pull the blanket back. He quickly grabbed her ankle pulling her leg towards him.
“Don’t..” His thumb stroking her soft spot. “Don’t be embarrassed. It’s just me.”
His words hinting at the phase she used last night. It’s just us.
Betty snapped back from the memory.
“Mhm yea sorry. Actually I’m meeting a couple friends at Pop’s after school. Do you maybe, want to come?”
“If you want me too.”
“I wanna see you. Can you come around 3:45? I want to talk to them first. I don’t want Kevin to have a stroke.” She laughed imagining her friends faces.
“I won’t wear it.”
She could hear the conflict in his voice. That jacket was him, was his life. The last thing Betty wanted was for him to think she was ashamed of it.
“Jug… You don’t have too. My friends are my family they are just alittle….” She couldn’t find the right word.
“Their important to you. I get it. I’ll see you around 4 okay?”
“Okay Juggie. Have a good day.”
“You to baby.”
Betty all but skipped to her first period class.
When time rounded around for last bell Archie had joined there after school Pop's interrogation. The girls taking Veronica’s sleek black BMW and the boys in Archie’s weather beaten Jeep.
“So B, since it’s just as females, give me the uncut verison.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively under her dark Cartier sunglasses.
Betty rolled her eyes looking out the window. “There's no uncut verison Ronnie. I promise. I just…started to have a panic attack.”
Veronica suddenly grabbed her hand tightly. “You should have came and got me. We could have called Smithers and when straight home.” The worried for her blonde friend laced in her tone.
Betty cleared her throat. “I know Vee, it wasn’t a bad one. But he saw and he helped me.”
“So there was a he?” she giggled.
“Nothing happened. I can’t explain it even if I tried. We just meet and it’s like we have known each other our whole lives. I look at him and I’ve never felt a calm like this. We just clicked instantly.”
“Wow. Betty I never pegged you for the romance type.”
“Honestly Veronica, do you believe in love at first sight?”
“Jesus. It’s that serious? I don’t know honey. All I can say is just be careful okay? I’ll always support you. Even if he is the type to wear off brand.”
Betty laughed at her friends fake disgusted face.
“Well you can judge his clothing brand choices later. He’s actually meeting us at Pop's later. Listen Ron, I’m gonna give you a heads up so don’t freak out okay?”
Veronica only nodded Betty to continue.
“He is…..” Calculating her next words carefully. “…from Southside.”
She didn’t look phased. “No biggie babe.”
Betty didn’t miss the hint of worry flashing though Veronica’s eyes.
They parked side by side at Pop's. Betty leading the way past there usual booth to claim a bigger on towards the back. She slid into onto the red leather of the half circle booths. Archie and Kevin both looked at her with question. Their usual booth unoccupied they were about to question the sudden change when Veronica spoke up.
“I’ve always loved these booths. Don’t you Archkins?” she side eyed Betty. Understanding why they would need the extra space.
Both boys taking a seat.
After they all ordered milkshakes and a large fried to share Kevin was the first to speak.
“So Miss Perfect turned wild child huh? First outta town party and you run off in the middle of the night? What happened?”
Betty felt your nails bite at her sore palms at the word perfect. Flexing her fingers under the table she thought on how to go about this.
“Alright guys listen, I started to have a panic attack so I walked outside to get some fresh air.” Taking a deep breath her friends hung on her every word.
“Long story short, I met a guy and he really helped me. We just connected. I really can’t explain it. I like him. A lot.”
A silent beat before Archie spoke.
“So you just when home with this random guy?”
“Archie please. I really like him and he was a perfect gentleman.”
Veronica gave Archie that a look that could make the strongest man back down.
“Okay Betty. So are you guys still talking?”
“ Yeah, mhm has actually gonna meet us here in a little bit.”
Kevin’s eyes widen at the information. “So we get to meet this mystery man who sweep you off your feet? How exciting!”
Betty took a sip of her vanilla milkshake.
“He must be serious if he’s going to drink all the way from Greendale on a Monday evening.” Archie said.
“Actually he isn’t from Greendale.” She replied.
Kevin was about to ask he where he lived when there was a loud roar coming from outside. Everyone broke there necks to see the man on the motorcycle walk in backwards into a parking spot. Once the motor idled you could hear the loud speakers play the song Hot Blooded by Kaleo. He slipped his riding gloves off and killed the engine. Betty hadn’t seen his motorcycle, choosing to take the car when it came time for her to head home, but it was a monster. Something Betty could assume wasn’t bought off a show room floor, after mark accessories and upgrades apparent. He open a saddle bag throwing in the unused gloves and sunglasses. He was dressed similar to Saturday night. Black ripped jeans tucked carelessly in his riding boots. A plain white shirt almost hidden by a thin black jacket. Seeing the lack of leather both relieved and guilted Betty. He pulled out his phone while dismounting the hulk of a bike. Typing a quick few text telling the guys he would be busy for a while. Then clicking on Betty’s contact labeled only as Baby.
‘Pretty surebwe could hear you a mile away lol we are in the booth in the main back to your left from the door.'
“Holly shit Betty. Is that him?” Kevin’s mouth hit the floor.
“You got to be freaking kidding?” Archie huffed. Veronica squeezing his knee under the table.
“You guys please. Be nice.” Betty begged once more as Jughead turn to walk towards there booth. Her chest locked up at there eye contact. His blue eyes piercing straight though her. The combination of his smirk and that one curl refusing to stay under his ball cap. She couldn’t remember a time when she saw the bill turned around correctly, it always pressed against the back of his neck. Something finally clicked in her head. He only wore the hat when he didn’t want to be recognized. He mentioned the night before that he was only at the party to check up on some business. Her faced dropped slightly, he was afraid of her friends judgement.
“Well my stars! It’s been to long my boy!” Pop instantly noticing who he was.
“Hey Pop. Yea, I know it’s been a long time.” Jughead smiled back at the old man, making his way towards Betty’s booth.
“Hey babe.” Jughead said as he slid next to her.
Her friends eyeing him down in different ways.
“Hi Juggie.’ Betty said in a low tone. Her heart going into over time with being close to him again.
“Very James Dean. I approve.” Veronica stated, critiquing his outfit, body and face.
“Jug these are my best friends. Veronica Lodge, her boyfriend and my neighbor since we were 5 Archie Andrew’s, and last but not least gossip queen Kevin Keller. Guys this is Jughead.”
Kevin was the first one to open his mouth without filter.
“Jughead? As in Jughead Jones? As in son of Serpent King, FP Jones?” Kevin’s voice didn’t hold judgement bit curiosity and some cautious.
“Yea that’s me.” He simply replied.
“Well that is a bombshell B. I can see why you were hesitant. Serpent cares a heavy weight with it around here. But Lodge leaves a bad taste in some people’s months in New York City. So no judgement here.” Veronica said sweetly trying to cut the tension. She sipped on her dark chocolate milkshake.
“Your telling the truth Miss Park Avenue. The respectable Sheriff, Tom Keller, having a gay son? What a sin.” Kevin rolled his eyes. “We’ve hear it all Jughead.” Him trying his best to follow Veronica’s lead.
“Well I can say I’ve met your dad. He’s a fun guy.” Jughead said testing the waters.
“I love him to death, don’t get me wrong but military booth camp was so not for me.” Kevin laughed.
“Yea I can relate to overbearing fathers.”
Pop’s walked over then with a double fudge milkshake.
“On the house Jones. Tell your dad I said hello next time you speak with him.” He placed a firm hand on Jughead shoulder with a warm smile. Walking back around the counter towards the kitchen area.
“How does Pop know you so well?” Veronica asked.
“My mom used to bring my little sister and I here when we was younger. I haven’t been back here since I was like fifteen. Serpents aren't to welcome on this side of the tracks.”
There is was.
Out in the open.
The whole table when silence for a beat. Betty simply wrapped both arms around his and rested her head on his shoulder. The action saying everything.
Archie being the only one who has said a word since the revile of Jughead. Veronica and Kevin starting a conversation having to deal with two cheerleaders cheating on there football player boyfriends with each other.
“What does Moose and Trevor say about it Archie?” Kevin said.
“Huh? What is it?” Archie snapped out of his intense interest with his milkshake straw.
“What’s wrong darling?”
“Nothing. I just remembered Dad needs my help later at the job site. I should go.” He gave Veronica a quick peck as Kevin stood to let him up. Pulling his wallet from his back pocket and tossed a few bill's down.
“Tell Fred I said hi.” Jughead commented as he tossed a frie in his mouth. The table froze, neither boy had so much as glanced at each other during the whole conversation.
“Fuck off Jug.” Archie said though his gritted teeth.
“Archie! That’s rude!” Veronica scolded.
“What is wrong with you Archie?” Betty was blown away by his under breath comment.
Jughead jumped up, getting in Archie’s face. “Watch your mouth.”
Jugheads body language completely changed. The intimidating gang leader was full forced.
“Why not? People not allow to talk to you that way? Does it hurt your feeling Jug? No one gives a shit!”
The veins in Archie’s neck threatening to burst as Jughead’s face stayed cold, calculating his next move.
“Oh get the fuck over it Arch.”
Betty when to grab his hand. Trying anyway to defuse the situation she didn’t understand. Why was there so much tense between them?
Archie’s eye darken suddenly. “Oh please. Don’t try to act like a better man right now Jug. You don’t think we all haven’t all hear about you and your fun on the Southside. We know what people call you. You don’t get the nickname Devil from helping little old ladies across the street.”
Pop's walked over getting inbewteen the two boys.
“Go on and help your dad Archie.” Pop’s said with authority.
Archie huffed and stormed outside. Squeezing the tires of the old jeep out of the parking lot.
Jughead stayed standing. His body locked up in anger.
“Juggie.” Betty whispered as she stood next to him. She ran a hand down his arm. His muscles relaxing under his touch. He turned to face her, his eyes when still dark. The blue turning into that cold steel she had seen before.
“I gotta go. I’ll text you later.” He wrapped an arm around her waist pulling her close to his chest. Feeling his lips against her forehead she complete melted against him. Her eyes fluttering closed and a small sign leaving her lips.
“Juggie talk to me.” She whispered against his clothed chest.
He gave her a finally squeeze. He made his way back to his bike and started it without bothering with gloves. The song Hot Blooded taking on a whole new meaning now. He made a turn in the opposite direction that Archie did. Back to the South he rode.
Betty sat back down, visibly shaken.
“What was that?” came from Kevin.
“I don’t know. But we are going to fine out.” Veronica pointed. “There is some pass anger between those two.”
“But how does Archie and Jughead know each other?”
“I don’t know.” Betty input. She dropped her head to stare at her hands. “I’ll talk to Juggie later.”
The raven hair girl grabbed her hand. Squeezing it sympathetically. “Betty, I think you need to talk to him about more then that. Archie was right about one thing. They don’t call him devil because of his sinfully good looks.”
Kevin sent a concerned smile her way. “Yea Betty, its obviously, so you two need to talk about how this is going to work.”
“What’s obvious Kevin?”
This time both Veronica and Kevin looked at each other knowly.
Veronica was the one to clarify Kevin’s words.
“oh doll, your falling in love with him.”
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Betty’s feet ran as fast as she could though the congested hallways. Archie had completely avoided her since last night. Concern and confusion was starting to twist into white hot rage.
How dare he pull a stunt like that in Pop's! He has no right to judge Jughead! He doesn’t even know him! Right?
The blondes internal conversation stalled at the sight of red hair. Riverdale’s proud variety football captain, aspiring musician, and all around good boy was walking with a pack of his Bulldogs. If looks could kill Archie would be reduced to a pile of charred bone and ash. Anger of Archie’s words last night was dripping from every pore on her body. Seeing red she pushed her way straight to the unsuspecting jock.
“Archie!” she screamed once he was within arms length. He jerked around to face her. All the amusement in his face disappeared when he saw the fire green eyes staring him down. Moose and Trevor eyed each other curiously behind watching the scene unfold. Betty squared her shoulders standing toe to toe with Archie.
“Sit with us together at lunch, we need to talk.” It wasn’t a question. Betty’s shoulder connected with his as she brushed past him. Archie eyes still locked on the space she had once stood.
“Jesus, what’s her problem today?” Said Trevor.
Moose snorted “Maybe it’s her time of the month? You know bitches get fucking crazy.”
Moose dropped to the ground before anyone in the crowded hallway saw what happen. Archie stood over Moose’s body, rage still rolling off of him in waves.
“Shut the fuck up Moose. I better not ever hear you call her that again. Got it?”
Archie finally turned and stormed off in the direction Betty had when.
“So have you talk to Archie yet?” Kevin asked as he sat down at their usual table. The sky was overcast causing everything to have a gloomy atmosphere. Betty’s frown only made things worst.
“No, he ignored my text all last night. I finally caught up with him the halls. I told him to sit with us today instead of his pack of dogs.”
Veronica sat down next to her, pulling out her personally made lunch by what ever chef her mother hired this week. “Well, Archie tucking tail and hiding how he’s feeling is strange. He wouldn’t talk to me about it last night either. Simply brushed it off as he's ‘stressed out'.”
“What did Jughead say about it Betty?” Kevin asked.
“We really didn’t get to talk much.” She lied. Before Kevin could call her out on her lack of the truth Archie came over and dropped his book bag down onto the grass. He sat directly across from Betty.
“What is it Betty?” he kept his hands clenched on top of the table. Both Kevin and Veronica inched away from the two, not really knowing who’s anger to really be afraid of more.
Betty straighten her spine and crossed her arms in front if her “What was yesterday?”
“He just made me mad. I just don’t get a good feeling from him.”
“Bullshit. How do you know him?”
“It’s a long story. Betty you need to stay away from him.”
“Archie Andrew’s you can’t tell me who I can and can not see.”
“Well then ask your boyfriend what happen. But don’t expect him to tell you the truth. He’s nothing but a liar.” Archie grabbed his bag and walked back into the school.
“I wonder what Jughead did to piss him off so bad?” asked Veronica.
“How do you know Jughead did anything? We still don’t know what even on between them.” Betty stated.
Kevin put down his sandwich and grabbed for her hand. “Betty babe, Archie had a point last night. We’ve all hear the stories. Jones's don’t have the best reputation around. Jughead is the heir to the serpent throne, his dad is just evil. I’ve over hear my dad talk about some of the stuff the serpents are into and it’s terrifying to be honest. They apparently have this huge gun smuggling operation. If my dad is right Riverdale is the last check point to get guns to gangs in New York City and serpents run the whole thing.”
Betty mind started racing. Her mind when to the conversation her and Jughead had last night on the phone. He completely blew off the interaction with Archie. He ignored and deflected every question she had. Towards the end he made the comment that he would be gone this weekend. Again deflecting the question when she asked where he was going. Was the serpents really running guns to the city? Was Jughead the heir to a blood money empire? Betty had to know. She had to figure all this out before it became to much.
“Speaking of New York. Vee, I was thinking I’ll finally take you up on your weekend get away idea.”
Veronica eyes lit up at the mention of a trip with her best friend! “Oh Yes B! We will have so much fun! I’ll get the plans together tonight!”
Betty smiled and stood to go hide away in the Blue and Gold office until the next bell.
She had texted him immediately after returning home the evening . She had even more question going though her head after the conversation at lunch. She desperately wanted to see Jughead and get an explanation but she simply stated she was there if he needed to talk. The text was sent at 4:45pm. She need to forces on something of else she would be staring at her phone all evening. She finished her homework, cleaned around her room, then dinner time rolled around and still no reply.
“Elizabeth! Time for dinner!” Alice Coopers voice echoed upstairs.
Betty walked down stairs to see the large dinner her mother had made. It smelt delicious but Betty still frowned knowing she would go to bed still hungry. Her mother fixed her plate, counting her calories, still trying to get Betty to have the perfect figure. She sat at the table with a sigh, another exhausting encounter with her mother wasn’t something she could take right now. Betty put her head down and nodded like the good girl her mother wanted.
“Don't slouch Elizabeth. It’s not proper.”
“I’m sorry mother.”
Finally back in the room, she waited for the nightly routine of her mother coming in and telling her what she would wear tomorrow. A another pink sweater and cropped jeans.
“Remember Elizabeth, this trip to the city this weekend is for you to decide if it’s going to be Columbia or NYU. No staying out late, no getting into trouble.” Alice pinched her daughters shoulder, a reminded to do as she is told.
“Yes mother.” Betty didn’t even recognize her own voice. She had master the robotic sound that appease her mother.
“Good girl. Now go to bed.” She had a smile that didn’t reach her eyes again. Alice walked out and Betty whole body chilled at the sound of the deadbolt locked. She grabbed her phone to see a blank screen. Nothing. Her head banged against the headboard, tears ran down her cheeks.
She decided to take a bath in hopes of a distraction. The mirror started to steam up causing her reflection to blur. She was staring at the smudge of green that was suppose to be her eyes.
Nothing could be normal in her life. She couldn’t simply have feelings for a boy, the boy like her back, all her friends love him, and have a happily ever after. No it felt like the world was pressing down on the crown of her head. Her thoughts started racing one after another about how uncontrollable her life was. How she had no say in anything. Drops of blood hit her foot, causing her to flinch back violently. Scaring herself made her curse under breath. She didn’t even bother to look at the damage she had done to her hands. She just stepped into the bath water still fully clothed, allowing her fingers to relax once they were submerged. The blood clouded into small cyclones from her palms. Betty turned the water off and sat in the quite for a moment. The anger from earlier tonight mixed with the anger of Betty’s bad habit made tears rush down her face again. She gave in and let her self cry until the water started becoming lukewarm. The wet clothes made a nasty sound when the hit the tile floor. Finally taking in a deep breath to steady herself she washed off with her vanilla and honey scented body wash and got out. She had just slipped on her robe when her phone rang.
He took a shutter breath before he spoke.
“Hey Betty.” The way he said her name made a panic start pricking her skin.
“Jughead what’s wrong? Where are you?” Betty jumped up and started throwing on a pair of jean’s and the first sweater she could find.
“Betty…. We don’t need to talk anymore.”
“Jughead. Where are you?” she slipped on her white keds and open her window, the chill bite was still in the air so she doubled back for her khaki peacoat.
“Listen to me Betty. We need to stop talking, we need to stop whatever this is….
The anger came back to front of her brain. Something was wrong with Jughead. She could almost taste hesitation in his voice, something focusing his hand to say this.
…before this gets to serious.”
“Before it gets to serious? Don’t kid you self Jughead Jones. Now tell me where you are. Now.” Betty said shakily. “If you don’t I’ll just come to Southside and start walking until I find you.”
“No. I better never catch you walking around Southside by your self in the middle of the night. Your going to get yourself hurt.” He demanded.
Betty froze at the low threatening voice.
The silence felt to long when finally he spoke.
“Meet me at the old twilight dive-in.”
“I’ll be there in 15.”
The line when dead. The drive-in was short walk from her house, the only other place that laid right on the border of north or south. Betty could make it there without needed to cross the train tracks. She figured that’s why he chose there. The concrete sidewalk soon turned into gravel as she pressed herself against the projection booth. Checking her phone she had made it there in only 9 minutes. The sound of crickets calmed her racing heart. Memories of coming here as a little girl flashed, a packed parking lot, Northside and Southside children played together beside the concessions booth. The loud sound of a motorcycle cut though the air. He pulled right up next to her, killing the bike.
“What’s wrong?” she didn’t wait for him to get off the bike. His face pointed at the ground she cupped his jaw. He pulled away instantly and hissed in pain.
“Jughead I’m not gonna ask again. Please.”
“Betty. Whatever this is between us. It needs to end before you get hurt.”
Her hands gently brushed his cheeks again. Letting her pull his face to meet her eyes. She gasped looking at the dried blood on his face. The cut under his eye still dripping blood, a deep bruise started to form around it.
“Juggie. Talk to me.”
He grabbed her forearms, his hands where shaking as he took in a deep breath.
“Betty this was a mistake. My life isn’t like yours. School, collage applications, friends, those aren’t my main focus. You heard Archie at Pop's. Betty… I’ve done things. Things that would change how you look at me. I don’t think I could handle that.” His voice turning into a whisper. His grip on her arms tightened then. “You fucking tear me up inside. All I want is to be close to you and it pisses me off because I’ve spent 19 years keeping people away. People getting close only hurts you in the end.”
He look to the ground between them. Pulling her hands away from his face. “The reason I have a busted face right now is because I chose you over business that night.”
She took in a sharp breath though her teeth. “You’re hurt because of me?” she stepped away from him confused.
His whole demeanor changed then. Kicking the bike stand out and swing his leg over to tower over her. His hands grabbed her neck, thumbs pointing her chin to look him in his eyes.
“This is not your fault. Nothing is your fault, understand?” Betty had never seen a better representation of Jekyll and Hyde. One moment he was this struggling boy, terrified to feel anything and the next he was this cold gang member. Demanding and dominate. Someone who refused to hear the word no. His eyes sent a shiver down her back.
“Yes.” She swallowed. She grabbed his hands, his finger laced together on the back of her neck.
“Jughead Jones. I don’t care what anyone says, I don’t care about the danger that comes along with you. You are not the devil. I don’t care what you’ve done before. I can see you, underneath those walls, the real you. I don’t understand this feeling either. It… it scares me and excites me. I feel it too, this want to be around you. This want to touch you.” She brushed her thumb across his hands feeling him tremble under her touch. She pulled away and placed her clenched fist between their chests. Slowly she open them to show her freshly broken scars. The blood just clotting from earlier. “I have this darkness in me too.”
He fingertips gently brushed over the crested shaped cuts. He rolled her finger back in a fist, bringing them to his lips. Her eyes shimmered with tears at his action.
“Juggie. I’m not afraid of you.”
He rested his forehead against hers. “You should be.”
She placed her palms flat against his against his chest, Jughead’s finger loosely holding her wrist.
“I want to be yours.” She brushed hers lips against his. “Please, I want you.”
Hearing her beg for him broke any wall he had left standing. He crashed his lips into hers in a bruising kiss. Her face burning as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her flush against his chest. He pulled her bottom lip between his teeth biting softly. Betty whole body hummed at the feeling of him. Her lips parted as his tongue asked for entrance. She lifted a leg to rest against his hip. The need to be close to him burned though her limbs. His hand made a trail to her thighs and pulled her up, taking a few steps forward until her back was pressed again the decaying wood of the booth. His lips were making their way across her jaw, down her neck, and back from her collarbone. Biting and sucking as he went.
“Juggie…” a moan fell from her lips. She curled her back against the wood, pressed her core against him. His hand clamped down on her hip bones pressing her back onto the wall.
“Be good.” He hissed under his breath.
Betty let her head fall back, closing her eyes, trying to catch her breath. His lips still skimmed the length of her neck. “I hope you know what you’ve done Betty Cooper.” He chuckled.
The darkness laced in his voice only excited her more, suppressing a moan she swallowed and asked what he meant. She felt his lips twisted into a sinister smirk against her neck, he pulled away, meeting her eyes. A taste of fear licked at her. His pupils blown out causing his normal stormy blue to look black. Betty’s breath caught in her throat. His fingers wrapped around the hair on the nap of her neck as he spoke.
“You belong to me.”
Betty had never been on the back of a motorcycle before, and when he had offered to give her a ride home she was hesitant. Mostly from the fear of what Alice Cooper would do if she ever found out. All of that quickly faded from her mind when Jughead wrapped his arm around her waist. Bringing her stomach flush against his side. Her grass green met with his navy blue eyes, locked again in a silent conversation. A question in whether she trusted him to keep her safe. He knew the answer by the way his lips curled up into a smirk. It both shocked and thrilled Betty by this way of communication. This understanding between two humans that ran so deep, words were not needed. But Betty needed words, she needed answers, before she fell even deeper into the rabbit-hole named Jughead Jones.
“Jug, what happen between you and Archie?” She chose to tackle that hill first. The desperate need to understand why she was the reason for his injuries was still standing in front of her mind. Figuring out what kind of bad blood Jughead and Archie had seemed to be the smaller of the two climbs.
With Jughead seated on the bike and Betty pressed against him, he pulled out a cigarette, digging around in his pocket for a lighter. After taking a small draw of smoke he spoke.
“You said you and Archie have been neighbors since you were about five, right?”
Betty nodded, staying silent.
“FP Jones and Fred Andrews used to be friends a long time ago. Archie and his parents use to live close to the border. We grew up together until shit went down between our fathers.” He paused to take another breath of the toxic swirl. “They were partners in Andrew’s Construction, until money went missing. Something about a high-dollar client paying in advance and the money just disappearing. The company just about went under and Fred bought out my dad’s share.”
Betty was shocked at the information. Jughead and Archie were friends at one point. The infamous FP Jones was friends with the humble Fred Andrew’s?
“But why would Archie be mad at you over something that happened years ago? Both of you were just children, it doesn’t have anything to do with you. What happened to the money?”
Jughead dropped his cigarette butt unceremoniously to the ground.
“Because my dad stole the money. When the police got involved my dad told me to say I saw Fred pull the money from the safe at work. Both Archie and I were constantly running around whatever construction they were working on. I told them I saw him take the money and load it up into his work truck. It was believable. Until they pulled security footage from the site. My dad didn’t know Fred had them installed, it proved his innocence and FP’s guilt. He did a couple years upstate and got out on good behavior. Fred and Mary brought a house further on the Northside. I don’t think they were ever good after that. I’m the reason Fred almost went to prison, almost lost his business, and probably why Mary left to be honest.”
The crickets were the only sound for a few minutes. While Betty proceeded everything Jughead had told her. He pulled his arm away from her, confusion suddenly coiled in her. Jughead met her eyes, disappointment boiling within. It clicked in her mind why his eyes had turned cold, his body going rigid.
“Get on, I’ll take you home.” His voice slapped Betty in the face.
“Jughead, no! I’m not judging you. You both were children! You were just doing what your dad told you to do. None of that was either of your faults.” She brushed her hand against his cheeks again. “Jughead Jones, I would never judge you for anything. And it’s not right of Archie to still be angry with you! Or be angry with you at all!”
He chuckled darkly at her words. “Betty, those are just words my fucked up dad put in my head at six years old. That’s nothing compared to what’ve I’ve done. You can honestly tell me you will never judge me? Betty, you don’t even know me. You would go running if you knew half the shit I’ve done.” The tone of his voice scared her. This side of him did put some fear in the back of her mind. He was right about one thing, Betty didn’t know him. But this pull she felt to him. This undeniable safety and comfort she felt around him wasn’t something she was going to let go of.
“Then tell me. I want to know you, . The real you, . The Serpent you, . the And everything in between.” she said with a soft smile.
He stood then, slipping off his jacket and pulling it over her shoulders. His hands pulled on the lapels bringing her close to his body again. He dropped his lips to brush against her forehead.
“We're playing a very dangerous game, Miss Cooper.”
She smiled, burying her face in his chest. “You’ll keep me safe.”
Jughead straddled the bike again and moved his hand to twist the key. Before the bike roared to life Betty quickly spoke up.
“Veronica and I are going to New York City this weekend. You said you would be gone this weekend. So I was just letting you know I would be too.” She stuffed her hands in his jacket pockets, anxious at what his reply would be. An unnerving stillness seemed to freeze everything around them. He pulled his hand back slowly, resting both his palms flat against his thighs.
“Where will you be at in the city?”
“Why? Is that where you’re going?” Her eyebrow raised. Hoping to get some more information.
He took a deep breath out that made his nostrils flare. “Betty.” His voice left no room for argument.
She stared at her white shoes, glowing against the dark earth. “Upper Manhattan. I’m going with Veronica, her family still has a place around that area. She said we might go to a couple clubs in the south Bronx.”
“If you leave Manhattan I want you to text me. The moment you cross the bridge and tell me exactly where you are.”
Her brow creased at his voice. “You’re going to be in that area.” she stated.
“Yes.” He started the bike, motioned for her to climb on the back. She swung her leg over, linking her arms around his torso.
She leaned up to brush her lips over his ear. “Why?” she asked over the loud vibrating motor.
He revved the throttle once, kicking the bike into gear.
Wednesday started out horribly for Betty. Waking up five minutes late resulted in the harsh screams of Alice Cooper.
“I don’t know what has gotten into you, Elizabeth! I’m this close to not letting you go on that trip this weekend! You know how I feel about the Lodges anyway.”
Betty finished applying a soft pink to her lips. Pulling her ponytail a little tighter making her scalp burn. Alice walked up behind her, glancing through the mirror, evaluating Betty’s appearance with a detailed eye. The older Cooper women let out a huff of air.
“It will have to do. I don’t know why you insist on going this weekend anyway. Columbia has a better journalism program.”
Betty smashed her lips together. Trying to keep the sting of her palms at bay.
“I’m still interested in NYU, Mother.”
Alice’s eye sharpened at her daughter. “I don’t know why Elizabeth.” She placed her hands on Betty’s shoulders, pinching sharply. “Good girls listen to their mothers, Elizabeth. Remember that.”
Betty was sure her shoulders would bruise from her mother’s actions.
“Yes, of course, Mother. I’m sorry.”
“Good. Now hurry up. Good girls aren’t late for school. Your father and I won’t be home for dinner so there is money for Pop's in your backpack. I expect you to come home straight after.”
Alice started to walk out of her room. and Betty stood and adjusted her white cardigan.
“Late night at the newspaper?”
“Yes, some big story going on with the schools. I won’t know more until I go in this morning. Now come on, I’m taking you to school this morning.”
The short car ride felt more like hours with the questioning from her mother. Finally, when the vehicle stopped in front of the Riverdale High sign, Betty couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. She found Kevin and Veronica already sitting on the couch in the student lounge.
“Are you excited for our little weekend getaway, B?” Veronica took a small sip from her coffee.
Betty sat across from them, placing her bag next to her feet. “Yes, Ronnie of course.”
“I’m so jealous of you two. I would love to get out of the house for a weekend.” Kevin sank dramatically back into the worn fabric of the couch. Betty and Veronica gave each a knowing nod when Veronica spoke again.
“Well, Kevin, you are more than welcome to join.” Veronica again side-eyed Betty, biting her lip guilty. “I may have already asked Archie to come.”
Before Betty had the chance to scold the dark-haired princess her phone buzzed.
“Have you hear the news yet?”
If was from Jughead. Confused Betty started to type out her reply, asking what he was talking about when Mr. Weatherbee came on the loud speaker.
“Good Morning, Riverdale High students. Before you start your classes I have some important news that will affect this school starting tomorrow. Southside High has received a generous donation to help better their facilities. With the high school starting renovation immediately that means more than half their student and teachers will be joining us here at Riverdale. We will have an assembly first thing in the morning to help welcome our new students. Thank you and everyone have a great day.”
The entire school was silent.
Southside was coming to Riverdale High?
This was going to be a blood bath.
Betty quickly looked at her phone again and composed a reply.
‘Mr. Weatherbee just announced it. He said only half was coming. Does that mean you?’
“Oh my god! I can't believe they are combining the schools. People are going to riot.” Kevin spoke. “Betty! Does this mean Jughead is coming?”
Betty looked around for anyone who could have hear her friend’s excitement.
“I don’t know yet, Kev. Don’t be so loud about it.”
Veronica arched an eyebrow in her blonde friend’s direction. “People are going to be angry when they get here tomorrow, but once they find out our very own Pink Princess is dating the Prince of Snakes, they are going to be hysterical.”
Betty dropped her head to the back of the couch. Hysterical is an understatement. A simple ball cap wasn’t going to disguise who Jughead was. Student and teachers both knew who he was and his reputation. But she wasn’t ashamed of being seen with him. If Jughead was one of the students who was being forced to transfer Betty would be damned if she was going to just act like she didn’t know him. Her friends wouldn’t press her into that. Would Jughead’s though? Would he ibe embarrassed of by her? The buzz of her phone brought Betty from her downward thinking.
‘Apparently, it’s every Serpent in the school.’
Archie walked through the door like a bull in a China shop. He threw his stuff down on the table and sat next to his girlfriend.
“What’s wrong Archiekins?” Veronica rubbed his shoulder.
“I can’t believe that the Snakes are coming here.” He ran his fingers nervously though his fiery locks. He raised his head, locking eyes with Betty. “Is he coming?” Disgust dripping off his tongue with each word.
Anger simmered under her peach sweater. “Yes, Archie. He is getting transferred along with every other Serpent that attends Southside. They are all coming.”
Archie’s nostrils flared. “That’s just fucking great.”
The thought of seeing Jughead at school until graduation made her heart flutter.
Yes, it was fucking great indeed.
I'm sorry this took so long! The comments you guys leave make my day. Thank you so much to jandjsalmon for being my beta! Go check her out on tumblr! My tumblr is paigemariie14. Thanks guys and enjoy!
Betty Cooper was never one to be unprepared. Decorations for the Halloween Dance were ordered a month in advance, articles for next week's edition of the Blue and Gold were already outlined, and a change of clothes was ironed and folded in her locker.
She ran her fingers against the hem of her skirt, making sure her cheerleading uniform was flawless. Nerves were making her stomach roll uncomfortably. This morning was the arrival of Southside students and everyone seemed to be interested in how they would arrive. The parking lot was littered with students and staff, including Principal Weatherbee, who stood next to the front double-doors.
Veronica linked her arm with Betty’s trying to give some nonverbal comfort.
“I don’t think I have ever seen this parking lot so full so early,” Veronica mused as she flipped her hair off her shoulder.
Kevin pulled his old Ford into the parking spot next to Archie’s and jumped out. “What I have I missed?” he asked excitedly.
Archie rolled his eyes, a scowl that rivaled Weatherbee’s cemented on his face. “Nothing yet. No belly crawlers to speak of.” He leaned petulantly against the bumper of his jeep.
Veronica cut her eyes to him. “Now, Archiekins, play nice.” she warned.
The fire-haired jock crossed his ankles, trying his best to ignore her.
The front door of the school slammed open. A small women who looked to be in her nineties walk out. Her gray hair was slicked back into a high bun, dressed head to toe in black, she stood next to the Riverdale High Principal.
“That’s the Assistant Principal for Southside High,” Kevin whispered dramatically. “She got transferred here to help Weatherbee. Apparently, the school board doesn’t think he can handle the new students alone.”
So that explained the irritated look flickering in his eyes. Weatherbee was a strict man who ruled with a no nonsense attitude. For them to think he couldn’t handle a bunch of teenagers from the Southside must have cut his ego. This small slip of a women did have a large presence though so perhaps there was something to that.
“Betty, are you and Jughead going to be public?” Kevin asked curiously from where he sat next to Archie.
The blonde swallowed hard. That was the question. The question that kept Betty up well past midnight the previous night. She again smoothed down the fabric of her cheerleading skirt. Anger bubbled within her because the cheerleaders were required to participate in assembly that morning. She was already worried that Jughead’s friends wouldn't approve of her. That he would be ashamed to be seen with a preppy cheerleader from the Northside. This was only going to draw attention to their differences.
Betty’s voice was cut short by the loud roar of engines, a pounding beat mixed in.
‘We are the way out
We are the ones you loathe
Call us the wrong crowd
We’ll never walk alone
Don't need no savior
Don't need no hand to hold
Don’t need no favors
Jughead Jones pulled into the parking lot, twenty bikes followed behind him and Betty’s body froze at the sight of him. She had never seen such a dramatic entrance. Mirrored sunglasses dropped low on his nose, black hair pushed back by the wind, his Serpent jacket on full display, with a loyal crowd following him. Jughead oozed intimidation and power from every pore of his body. Betty would have swooned at the sight of him on his bike if it wasn’t for the beautiful pink haired girl sitting on the back with her arms around his waist.
“Who is that?” Veronica grabbing the sleeve of Betty’s uniform.
“I….I don’t know.” Betty could feel the heat rising from her neck.
Archie made a sound deep in his throat, crossing his arms. Veronica cut him off quickly before he could say anything.
The Serpents parked towards the back of the lot. The pink-haired girl quickly got off the bike and tugged down on her short plaid skirt. She pulled a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from her jacket pocket, lighting one and handing it to Jughead, before lighting her own.
Betty felt tears prick behind her eyes as more heat flushed her face. Kevin came and wrapped one arm around her. Betty jerked at the sudden touch, bring her eyes back to her group of friends. She didn’t realize she was staring and now she wished she never looked at Kevin or Veronica. The pity in their eyes nearly pushed her over the edge. Betty wrapped her arms tightly around herself. Her nails digging into her palm and her shoulders pulled up. She felt embarrassed. Of course he had a girlfriend on the Southside. She felt like such a fool. She watched him pulled another drag from the cigarette, his lips wrapping around it. The same cigarette that had a touch of red lipstick. Betty felt sick.
Jughead scanned the crowd of Northside students. All of them openly gawking at the newcomers. His eyes landed on Betty, crawled over her form slowly and his face morphed into a slow smile that didn’t last. Noticing her tight muscles and misty eyes he instantly stood, ignoring what the tall dark haired Serpent was saying, and walked straight to her. Jughead crossed the parking lot with purpose, flicking the cigarette towards some unsuspecting students. They jumped as if the extinguished butt would reach up and bite them. Betty’s chest constricted with each step he took. Jughead didn’t stop until his black boots met her white Keds.
His breath fanned over her face. The smell of nicotine still lingered causing Betty to become even more light-headed. She closed her eyes to try to regain some balance.
Jughead gripped her chin, pulling her face to meet his. “Baby…” his thumb pulled at her lower lip.
Veronica Lodge would be damned before she would let her best friend get played like that in front of the whole school. Seeing Betty clench her fists had pulled at her heartstrings, with fire in her eyes and the Lodge grace in step she pushed herself between the two.
“Don’t you dare call her that, after the stunt you just pulled Jughead Jones!”
Betty’s mouth fell open in shock of her friend’s boldness. The embarrassment she initially felt because of Jughead playing her shifted to mortification of Veronica.
Jughead’s face darkened, his eyes locked on Veronica’s petite frame, a look that made her hair stand up. Even the great heiress seemed taken back by anger vibrating off him.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Jughead tighten his muscles.
Veronica opened her mouth but was cut off before Jughead received the ice she thought he rightfully deserved.
“Aye! JJ!” The pink haired girl closed in and gave Veronica a long look from the bottom of her feet all the way up to her shiny black hair. “Well, well, don’t you look like the perfect Latina bombshell. I’m Toni, what’s your name, beautiful?” She propped her shoulder against Jughead. Toni had this effortless sex appeal and she carried herself like she knew it. A sly smile danced over her face.
“Do you have to try and fuck everything with a skirt?” Suddenly Jughead brushed her off.
Toni crossed her arms, letting out a loud huff of annoyance. “Don’t be jealous that I get more pussy then you do Jones.”
Jughead pinched the bridge of his nose. Closing his eyes he tried to calm whatever anger was brewing under the surface. “Don’t you have shit to do?” His eyes cut to his female-crazed friend. A silent warning to go the fuck away.
Toni‘s brow pulled together in confusion. She lazily dragged her eyes over Betty. Her chocolate brown eyes threaten to fall out when realization hit her like a freight train.
“You’ve have got to be joking. This is the pretty blonde you won’t shut up about?”
A loud whistle pricked the mid-March air.
“Fifteenth minutes! I want everyone in the gym for the assembly!” Weatherbee turned on his heels and walked back into the school. The older women hot on his trail.
Most student and Serpents alike didn’t even acknowledge the warning. All eyes captivated on the scene unfolding.
A pointed cough came from Veronica, stepping forward closer to Betty. “Unless we want to have to deal with everyone’s favorite red-haired witch, we should go, B.”
Betty glanced around, all eyes on the sweet cheerleader and dangerous gang leader.
Jughead stepped towards her again, placing his hands on her hips. “Betts, what’s wrong?”
She was mortified after misreading the situation and she couldn’t find the words to tell him. Tell him what? That she was just being a crazy jealous girlfriend? Is that was this was? Was she his girlfriend? They never actually put a label on what they were. She glanced at all the eyes watching them again. A new wave of self-doubt and embarrassment crash over her.
“I…it’s nothing. I'll see you inside.” She brushed his hands off of her and quickly made her getaway to the school.
The assembly was every bit of a gong-show as Betty had feared. Mr. Weatherbee spoke about how they must come together in times of need, that the RHS students ought to welcome the students from the Southside of town and show them what Riverdale pride was. Of course, his tone didn’t reflect his words.
Cheryl Blossom led the River Vixens though their routine. They twisted and moved to the beat of some relevant pop song. Betty’s mind numbed as she performed without thinking. She hit her final mark and the class of students erupted into applause.
Betty felt his eyes digging into her. She hoped that the flush on her cheeks was overlooked as the effect of her physical exertion. The chill the crept into her bones from his unblinking stare was too much. Everything was too much right now. Suddenly Betty felt her chest get tighter. Inhaling was becoming much more difficult.
Mr. Weatherbee dismissed the assembly. Hundreds of students and faculty alike shuffled all around her and she couldn’t catch her breath. The lack of air became sharper in her chest. Her meadow green eyes glazed over as she locked onto her shoes. She traced the laces in her mind, noticing how no one else’s uniform shoes were as white as hers. They were glowing white, show room ready. All but a small black scuff above her right pinky toe. The mark haunted her. She felt as if it was reaching up and circling around her throat. Her skin bruising under its force. She felt the brass tongue lick up her ear like a snake.
Betty’s chest completely locked up at the sound of her mother’s voice in her head.
She closed her eyes, willing them to stay dry.
The sharp sting of her palms seemed to calm the monster for a moment. Her vision slowly came back to her. Blurry outlines of six figures standing near her started to take shape.
Two hands squeezed her forearms, giving her a small shake, a pair of brown eyes came into focus.
“Betty? Betty, listen to me. You have to breathe, okay?” Veronica pressed Betty’s fist onto her chest. Trying to mimic what she wanted the blonde to do.
It wasn’t working.
“Ron….I can’t…I can’t breathe.” Betty all but collapsed on to her friend as she tried to take large gulps of air.
Veronica wrapped both arms around her. “Shit! Kevin go see if the newspaper office is unlocked. Archie make sure the hallway is clear. Hurry!”
Both boys sprinted to their assigned tasks. Once they were out of view Jughead stepped closed to the two cheerleaders. Two other Serpents carefully trailed behind their leader.
“Veronica, what is going on?” Jughead stepped closer.
Veronica craned her neck to look at him. Not moving her body as she held a shaking Betty. With her brown eye’s she looked him up and down. Trying to decide what would be best for her friend. With both her muscle men already indisposed, she knew she would need help getting Betty to the privacy of her office.
“Jughead, listen to me. Right now we need to get Betty to her office and I can’t lift her, okay? Come on we need to hurry.”
Jughead gently hooked his arm under Betty’s knees and lifted her easily. The other hand pressed her upper body tightly to his. Betty was shaking and still unable to inhale a full breath.
“Come on!” Veronica pulled on the leather of his sleeve. He kept up with Veronica’s fast pace, trying not to jar the shaking blonde in his arms, as they turned the corner to see both Archie and Kevin trying to pick a lock with a paper clip.
“Jesus Christ! What is this Fort Knox?” Kevin threw the bent piece of metal down.
“Sweet Pea. Open it.” Jughead’s voice sounded calm in the otherwise stressful events.
Toni pulled two bobby pins from her hair and handed them to Sweet Pea. The taller Serpent bent down and twisted the metal to fit into the keyhole. A loud click caused Kevin to release a gust of air.
Veronica again pulled on Jughead’s arm. “Sit her down on the couch. Archie, lock the door behind us.”
Jughead placed Betty on the small worn leather couch, sitting back on his heels.
“Baby? Look at me, please.” The other Serpents stepped back, surprised at the softness in their leader’s tone. Betty hunched over wrapping her arms across her stomach.
Veronica took a seat next to her after rummaging around in the only desk in the room.
“Betty, take it, please.” A well-manicured hand produced a small blue pill.
Betty nodded taking the medication with a shaky hand and dry swallowed the pill.
“What was that?” Jughead gripped the back of Betty’s calves. Trying to anchor the worry twisting inside of him, while also silently communicating to Betty that he was still here.
Veronica rubbed small circles on her friends back. “Xanax.”
“Ronnie…. Ronnie, he's going to think I’m crazy,” Betty whispered, refusing to look at Jughead.
Veronica gripped Betty’s cheeks. Pulling her to eye level.
“Betty Cooper. You are not crazy. Having a panic disorder does not make you crazy. Okay?” She left no room for argument.
Betty simply nodded.
Jughead turned back to his friends who were still standing uncomfortably by the locked door. He nodded for them to go and they did so silently.
Betty’s breathing started to return to normal. Taking deep breaths through her nose as the chemicals raged war on the monsters fighting in her blood stream. Kevin bumped into Archie’s shoulder, head nodding towards the door. He took a few steps before waiting for his friends.
“Babe?” Archie stared at his girlfriend.
Veronica kissed Betty’s temple. “B, we’re gonna go so you can talk to Jughead, okay?”
“Thank you,” Betty whispered and gave Veronica's hand a squeeze.
Veronica smiled and followed her boyfriend through the door. The loud click of the door handle telling that they were finally alone. Jughead smoothed his finger against the back of her knees. A beat of silence passed. Another. Betty let out another deep breath and finally connected her eyes with his. The look on his face finally made the tears she’d been holding back break free from her emerald eyes. Worry and confusion would be expected but the look of fear is what gave the salt water that extra push. She had scared him. A man who everyone in this town and probably in New York City, with Betty’s best guess, feared. A man who had the power to, ideally, never be afraid. A man who said to be the Devil reborn. Yet simple, small Elizabeth Cooper had just put the fear of God into him.
Jughead ran his thumb across her cheek, catching her tears.
“Baby, talk to me.”