He pulled the sheet over them and pulled her closer to him. Her head lay on his chest and he had her arms around her. Her fingers ran up and down his forearm, as they regained their breath, contently.
He kissed her cheek before dozing off.
She lay in his arms, wide awake. She thought she would have been more exhausted, but now she was more conscious of everything than ever. She wanted to say something but she had no idea what she could say. She wanted to tell him that she loved him but what if he didn’t reciprocate? Besides did she love him? Were they back together now? Did she want to be? Who knew?
“Jug?” She whispered.
“Hmm,” he mumbled.
“Are you hungry?”
He chuckled, “I thought I just ate.”
She smacked his chest lightly and he laughed, “Of course, Betts, I’m always hungry.”
She sat up pulling the sheet around her.
“You’re beautiful, you know that?” He said in almost a faint whisper.
She looked back at him, smiling to see his face glowing like she imagined her own was. She leant down and placed a kiss on his lips but sprang up just when he tried to deepen it. He groaned trying to pull her back down, “Bettyy…”
“Come on, Jug. Let’s get something to eat.” She pulled his shirt over her head and her panties on, before strutting into the kitchen.
He pulled on his sweatpants and followed her. She grabbed a bunch of ingredients out of the cupboards, clearly not forgetting since the last time she was here. He leant on the doorframe, smiling stupidly as he admired her rushing around the kitchen, wearing his shirt, as if it was her own kitchen. It could be, but she deserved a lot better, he knew that. He knew he couldn’t provide for her the way she deserved but due to the certain dystopian situation they were in, that was the last thing on his mind.
She caught his gaze, laughing, “What are you staring at? Come, help me. These pankcakes aren’t going to be made themselves.”
He laughed and gripped her hips, spinning her towards him, and placed a firm kiss on her lips. She pulled away, “Come on! I’m starving.”
He helped her make those pancakes, but not without having a flour fight with her, which led to her being placed on the countertop, running her hands through his hair as he kissed her deeply. He fed her the pancakes as they sat on the floor, against the cabinets under the sink and joked like old times. When they were both stuffed they migrated to the sofa where they sat opposite each other, knees touching and just talked. They talked and talked till the early hours in the morning. He learnt that she really did believe in all that wishy-washy zodiac nonsense, but maybe she could convince him someday. He learnt that she believed in star-crossed lovers and soulmates. She believed in the goodness of people because that’s what she wants to have faith in. She believed that every person can be forgiven. She believed in second chances. And she learnt that his favourite thing to do when he was younger was play pretended chef with his sister. His other favourite thing to do was play lego with her. He would have become a chef but he would end up eating all the ingredients. He loved playing with Lego so much that he took an oath to become an archaeologist, mistaking it for the role of an architect. He kept all his sister’s birthday cards that he couldn’t afford to post to her in a little box to give her when he saw her again. He believed he would be reunited with his sister once more, despite his logical thinking telling him that it was extremely naive of him to have faith in that. She learnt that he had an idealist side to him, and he learnt that she had a realist side to her, too. They shared the fondest of memories, most embarassing secrets, worst fears, truths they had told no one. For example, once in the fifth grade, Betty had taken Chuck Clayton’s second lollipop to give to Archie’ but ended up dropping her own, so she took Archie’s for herself. Archie got annoyed at Chuck for forgetting him and they got in a whole fight about it, lollipops included: it got very messy and Archie had to get a haircut. Mary was not happy about it.
They didn’t even realise how long they had been talking for, and when the sun came up, they admired it together, in each other’s embraces. They ignored the death and destruction that surrounded them and focused on the beautiful new beginning that was arising over the horizon. They ended up falling asleep like that, on the sofa, and only woke up when Betty’s mobile rang.
She untangled herself from his arms and stumbled around, trying to find her bearings. Her mobile was buzzing on the small, coffee table and she picked it up. Jughead groaned but remained fast asleep.
“Hello?” She whispered in a hush voice before going into Jughead’s room, so she wouldn’t wake him up.
“B! You’re alive!”
“Ronnie? Is everything okay? How are you guys? How are we both getting service? Is my mom okay?”
“Yes; we’re okay; no clue; yes, she’s asleep at the moment but she’s okay; worried about you, of course.”
Betty gave a sigh of relief, “Is everyone else okay, too?”
“Yeah, but no mention of…”
She felt her stomach twist into a knot at the indication of her best friend, “Oh.”
“So sorry about that Betts.”
“Thank you, V. Have you heard anything from the Sheriff Keller?”
“To be honest, B, he seems pretty confused. He can’t come up with an explanation, but I don’t exactly blame him. But he suggested that you come to the Penbrooke at around 11 if you want to make it here. That’s apparently the prime time. On another note, B, I just found out…well, Cheryl just overheard Sweet Pea talking to Fangs…”
“B, how do I say this?” Veronica sounded agitated on the other line.
The next 7 words made Betty’s stomach drop.
She started taking deep breaths, “Are…are y-you sure,V?”
“Yeah, I am. I’m so so sorry, B. I love you, okay? Try and contact me as soon as possible. Cheryl wants to call Nana Rose. I’m really sorry, okay?”
“Yeah, thanks, V. Love you too.”
She hung up the phone and tried to ignore the stinging in her eyes. She peered round the door to look at the peaceful Jughead.
He looked so content that you wouldn’t believe the world was falling apart just a few yards away from him.
How could he?
She felt so naïve and stupid for giving herself to him, fully, for him to lie to her and break her heart once more.
Betty knew she shouldn’t jump to conclusions, after all their miscommunication had led to their breakup, but she couldn’t help but wonder…
Veronica’s words repeatedly pierced her heart.
Jughead’s still taking part in the bet.