I looked at the window of the car and sighed. My father was talking to me but I only got my sound higher.
"Now in my remains,
Our promises that never came.
Except that silent rain,
To wash away the worst of me."
Seeing my childish behavior, he sighed and stopped the car in front of a house that looked not bad. He turned to me and took off my headphones from my head.
"Hey! It was pricey!"
"Yeah, it got out from my pocket. Listen, they are already really kind to take us into their house. Be polite and more sociable than you usually are."
"I don't see what you're talking about, I'm always like that," I said, rolling my eyes.
I took my headphones from his hands and got out of the car with my only bag. My father soon rejoined me and knocked on the door. A woman that was around his age opened and grinned.
"We were waiting for you. Come."
My eyes rolled and I expired loudly. She showed us around the house, precising that her husband and daughter would soon come back, but that she had do go. She bid her farewells and I took this time to go see the room I'd now sleep in. I took my DSLR camera out of my bag, removed the roll of film and put it in an enveloppe I saw and took from downstairs. I changed my clothes and went back downstairs. As I was going outdoors, my father called:
"And can I know where you're going?"
"Far away from this hell of a house."
"Would you prefer to go back to your old house?"
I suddenly turned around.
"Are you threatening me?"
"One call, a false move, and back to sender."
"Oh dear dad... You won't get rid of me that easily."
He tensed up and went back to the room he came from as I went out, music in my ears. I arrived in the place I wanted to go. A drive-in.
I was in the back of the car of Betty's mom with them and Archie. Not far was Jughead with his friends. I kept on turning around to watch them.
"If you keep it like that, might as well join them," my aunt said bitterly.
I gave her a big smile before running to them. I sat besides the brunette girl who made some room for me, then hugged me.
We then all focused on the movie, laughing from time to time.
Apparently, it was closed. The closest place that could develop my roll. Was closed. I decided to go back home when some bikers in leather started to come my way. I took off my headphones.
"What are you doing here? This place is private."
"Oh, sorry I didn't know."
He chuckled bitterly.
"Everyone knows. Now go away, before something bad happens."
He started to turn around and I saw the symbol on his jacket.
"Wait!" he stopped, "It's a pleasure to meet Southside Serpents, really. I want a job."
He sighed deeply, looking completely done with me.
"We don't give dirty money to girls like you."
I huffed, irritated.
"Girls like me? You don't know what kind of girl I am."
I suddenly took off my jacket. Surprised of the quick movement, some Serpents put their hand on their weapons. I lifted my sleeve up. The one I was talking too came closer and saw my tattoo.
"Hmm. So that's why you know us."
"More or less.." I smirked, "I used to help my mom with that gang before they decided to make it official."
"And how old are you again?"
"You know what they say, age is just a number."
"Okay, come back tomorrow afternoon, we'll give you a dealing to do."
"Alright, thank you."
I started to walk back to my new house. When I arrived, the father and the daughter were already there. She smiled at me,but I ignored her and when directly in my bed for a nap.
I woke up from my nap and decided to go talk to my cousin, before my dad would force me to. I got up and went in front of her room. I knocked on her door and waited. She soon opened, looking surprised to see me.
"Hi. I'm sorry for ignoring you earlier, I'm not really a social person. Anyways.. I don't know if you remember me, but you used to call me-"
"Al!" she cut me off and hugged me, "I've missed you."
"Didn't think you'd remember me.."
"Of course I do! By the way, " she opened the door and gestured me to enter, "I took your school things, you're starting tomorrow."
"Wow, starting school in the middle of the day... Great."
"It's the first day of school for everyone, don't complain," she chuckled.
I saw someone on her bed.
"Hey, I'm Kevin."
"Alek, Betty's cousin," I shortly waved.
She looks like she was getting ready for something, so I bid them goodbye, and went back to my bedroom. The day after I went in her open bedroom, just after her mom was exiting.
As we arrived in school, I saw a brunette coming our way.
"Alek, this is Veronica, she also arrived yesterday. Veronica here's my cousin, Aleksandra," she said, with a slightly rude tone.
We said hi to each other and Betty started to talk about the (hi)story of the school.
"Betty, I don't think any of us is interested in what was our school like before."
"True, is there any night clubs?" asked Veronica.
"A strip club called the Ho Zone, a tragic gay bar called Innuendo, friday nights there are football games then tailgate parties at the Mallmart parking lot. Saturday night, movie night at the Bijou, and no reservation so you better get there early," Kevin said, starting to walk with us.
"Hi Alek. I can call you Alek right?"
Betty didn't wait for my answer and introduced Veronica to Kevin.
"Veronica, Kevin, Kevin, Veronica. Just like Al, Veronica's new here, and Kevin's-"
"Gay, thank god. Let's be best friends."
"Is it true what they say about your dad?" asked Kevin.
Betty opened her eyes big and I chuckled.
"Both of you have no filter. I like it."
"So what everybody knows about my dad? Great, I'm already the Blue Jasmine of Riverdale High."
We turned in a hallway and stopped when Veronica tugged on Betty's sleeve.
"There's the hottie we were with last night. The red-headed Ansel Elgort. Is he your boyfriend?"
"No, he's straight."
"No, we're just friends."
Betty and Kevin watched each other and I just laughed again.
"I don't see the Elgort in him. Where?" I asked.
"Could you put a word in for me?"
"Correction, they aren't dating, but they definitely are endgame."
"Oh, I remember even when we were kids. Since 09,you couldn't keep your eyes off of " I chuckled at the memory
"Wow! Then you should ask him out to the semi-formal!"
"We're not even sure the semi-formal is still on, after what happened to Jason.."
"Wait, Jason as in Jason Blossom? What happened to him?"
Soon enough we learned what happened to him as his twin sister hosted a school assembly for him. He had died in some weird circumstances, in the presence of his sister, by the Sweetwater river. She asked the school not to cancel the semi-formal. I don't even know why the school would give her such an impact. They wouldn't cancel classes for the death of someone, why would they ask a sole person to decide something like that?
It was now lunch and as Archie, Kevin, Betty and I were sitting together, Betty in front of me, beside Archie and Kevin beside me, Veronica walked to us with her plate. Apparently, Archie didn't remember me, which isn't surprising, since I'd never hang with him. As soon as Veronica sat (the other way of Archie), Betty, Kevin and I were glancing at each other because of the way she'd just try to "socialize". It wouldn't surprise me if they finished as a couple. As Archie had meetings and tryouts, Ronnie moved at little and at the exact same time, Cheryl started walking towards us. Betty told us just in time to not talk about Archie
"Veronica Lodge.. I'd heard whisperings. I'm Cheryl Blossom, may I sit? Betty would you mind?" she asked making a little wave to tell her to move.
"She may not mind but I do. Don't you have feet? Stay up," I spat.
Shocked by my words, Kevin elbowed me and Betty kicked me, then moved for Cheryl.
"Anyways, what were you gossiping about? Archie's Efron-esque emergence from the chrysalis of puberty?"
"Why so much words Blossom? Couldn't-"
I interrupted myself, I definitely didn't want to start a fight with her on my first day of school. Even though I'd win.
"We were talking about extracurriculars," said Veronica.
"Oh! You must try out for cheerleading! I'm the captain of the River Vixen," she said moving her hair.
"Is cherleadin still a thing?" asked Kevin.
"Is being the gay best friend still a thing?"
I took a deep breath to calm myself, but it didn't work. So I faked a smile before starting to talk.
"I guess the death of your brother hasn't altered your bitchy personality."
My friends gasped.
"Go away Cheryl."
She got up and smiled at me.
"I also hope to see you, Aleksandra Cooper. Anyways, before I go don't forget to add me! @cherrybombshell!"
As soon as she went away, Betty slightly slapped my arm.
"What is wrong with you?"
"No, what is wrong with you people? Why are you letting her treat you like that? Kevin!"
I turned to him and he just shrug his shoulders, making me sigh.
"What happened to you Alek? You used to be so quiet."
"Well trust me, I've changed."
Later on, the girls had decided to try out for cheerleading, so I came to watch. I never realized that Betty had changed too. Of course, it wasn't enough for Cheryl who always wants more and for their "big finish", they kissed each other. Still can't believe they did that. Apparently, still wasn't enough for Cheryl. In their interview portion, she seemed like she wanted to destroy Betty.
"How's your sister doing?"
"Polly's fine, thanks."
"Veronica, has Betty told you about her sister yet?"
"Go ahead Betty. Tell her about her and Jason."
"Polly and Jason used to date. It didn't end well."
"In fact, Jason's probably the reason why your sister had a nervous breakdown and ended up in a group home, no?"
That made my brows frown. So that's why I haven't seen her.
"That's what my parents think."
"What do you think Betty? Go ahead, lash on me."
I could see Betty forcing her nails in her palms. I came closer to her spot and held one of her hands.
"Sorry for what happened to Jason," she said, her voice trembling.
"Right. Veronica! Welcome to the River Vixens! Betty. Better luck next time."
"Wait, what? Why? Because you couldn't bully Betty into being a bitch? Listen. Just because you want people to fear you more than like you, it doesn't mean everyone does. I'm living proof. And by the way, Betty and I come as a matching set. You either take both, or you get none. You wanted fire? Sorry cherrybombshell, my speciality is ice."
That was the first time I had seen Cheryl on the verge of tears. It was a relief that Veronica talked back to her because if it was me, I'd have slapped her. Finally both were in. They went to the gym lockers, trying on their new uniforms while I got to the hallways, searching for a room.
"Hey! Looking for something?" someone asked as I probably looked lost.
"Yeah, Coach Clayton's office?"
"Come, I'll show you where it is."
I later learned that the coach was a big sexist accepting only boys in the contact sports teams. I went back home disappointed and as I entered, I could hear Alice and Betty arguing over the fact that she's made the oh so hated - at least in our familly- Cheryl Blossom's cheer squad. By the time I entered my room, Betty was out of the house. I picked up my headphones and put some music. I automatically thought about my mom, Henry, the gang. So I decided to make a call.
"Hi Henry. What's up?"
"Nothing much. The gang's boring and on edge without you. I miss my friend."
"I miss you too."
"Exactly how I remember it. Can you do something for me?"
"I knew it. What is it?"
"Search for Annuary please. For if there's a CC near Riverdale."
"I need to protect myself. I have my first job for the Serpents this evening."
"Oh! Congratulations! Okay, I'm going to search for it and come back to you."
"Thanks girl, I'll owe you one."
"No you won't Alek," she chuckled and hung up.
Soon enough, Henry texted me the position of the closest member from our gang, which was actually... a Krispy Kreme? I entered and found someone behind the counter, who was on her phone. The shop was empty.
"Excuse me... do you know where I could find Caramel Chip Cookies?"
She got off her phone, smirked and slightly moved her head to the right, pointing a glazed donut painting. I locked the shop and took the painting off the wall to see little vault. I entered the date of creation of the gang, which was way way before I was even born, and took two Glocks and a dagger. I thanked the employee and went to the place of the meeting, where this time, only the Serpent I talked to was there.
"I talked to FP about you. He said he accept to help you and acknowledge your tattoo if you helped us with this little task. But if you really want to be part of our family, you'd have to go through the initiation, like everyone."
"Maybe later. What's the task?"
Before I took care of the task, he gave me his number and told me to text him if there's a problem or when I'm done.
I knocked really hard on his door.
"What is it?" someone slurred.
The person did and as soon as he did, I pushed him against the wall, one hand to his throat, the other one to on his mouth, the door closer enough to closer it with my foot. His eyes widened in shock.
"You're François, right?"
He nodded quickly.
"Is there someone else here?"
He shook his head and I took my hand off his mouth. A cat passed near us at the same time.
"Great. François, you know sent me, right?"
"The Serpents," he said, looking like he was on the verge of crying.
"You must be new to town, or else you'd know better than to make them wait for their money. Where is it?"
"I'll have it soon."
"That's not what I asked. Answer my question or I'll take all your possessions and resell them. Not like they value enough to get you ouy of your debt."
"It's in my Lamborghini."
I rolled my eyes.
"You're sure it's not the Lamborghini?"
I got my gun out and let him free.
"Lead the way. And make one mistake and you'll bleed out."
He lead me to the garage and opened the trunk of his car where a bag of money was. While still pointing the gun at him I calculated the money in the bag.
"There's five thousand dollars missing. What'd you do with them? Wait. The cat. You bought the cat."
By the time I had made him lead us to the car, tears were streaming down his face.
"Okay Francois, have a good day," I said, zipping the bag and putting it on my shoulder.
"What? What about the money?"
"I'll fill it. Have fun with your car and your cat."
I got out of his house and went to mine for a while digging into the secret pockets of my bag.
"At this state, I'll never make any profit."
"Why do you wanna make profit?"
I jumped when I heard a voice and turned around. Betty was standing at my door.
"Betty! You scared me," I said, taking a breather while putting my hand on my heart. "Has your mom already seen you in the outfit?"
"Not yet. By the way, we're going to buy dresses for the school dance tonight with Ronnie. Wanna come?"
Just hearing about it made me wanna puke.
"Woah, no need to look so disgusted!"
"Sorry, school dances are not really my thing. "
"Okay... just let me know if you change your mind, we'll hang out with you."
I nodded as she exited my room. I took the money out of the pockets and put it in the bag. Also took my camera, so I could walk around after the exchange, then I finally staryed to head back to the drive-in. I got my phone out and texted the Serpents guy, still ignorant of his name. Five minutes later, he showed up and took the bag, counting the money.
"Well. It's the first time I meet someone from an alliance. Also the first time I meet
a Conister Crow. Welcome to Riverdale. I'm Joey," He said, handing me half a million from the bag, while my eyes were widening.
"If you don't want them..."
I took them and put them in my camera bag.
"Thank you so much Joey. I'm Alek, by the way."
"You mean Aleksandra Molnár?"
"How do you know that?"
"My friend knows you. Before he couldn't stop talking about you. Now let's say there's just less amount of time where he's saying your name," he joked.
"Well, I've gotta go. It was nice to meet you. AM."
"Nice to meet you too Joey."
And so he went his way and I went mine. I was walking around town taking pictures of things that seemed aesthetic from my point of view, when I got a text.
Henry: Guess where I'm at.
She was at the dance. At the dance of my school. When I saw that I immediately called.
"Wh- what are you doing here?"
"Searching for you, obvi."
"No, I meant in the town, of or even, in the country."
"That? Where are you anyways?"
"Oh... definitely not at the dance."
"I should have known. Are you coming to the after party?"
"Wait, how did you even get in?"
"It's not like the security is high. I'm texting you the time and the place. Make sure to not be underdressed. Wear a dress, if it wouldn't kill you," she said then hung up on me.
I sighed and started to make my way to the house. I took my only dress out of the wardrobe, the famous little black dress: mine was a knee length sleeveless straight dress with a satin top, while the skirt had tiny skin colored lace stripes. I put on a light makeup but contrasted with a popping lipstick and when in front of my mirror, eyeing myself from head to toe. I exhaled loudly, shaking my head, while I took my bag and put on my wedged heels.
Soon enough I was inside Cheryl's house. As I entered the living room, I saw Veronica and Betty sitting beside each other, Cheryl in front of the chimney, the guy that helped me go to Coach Clayton's office in front of the girls and Archie standing beside him.
"Look! The other 'new' girl! Alek, right?" she asked, not before air-quoting new. "Come play with us. We're starting 7 minutes in heaven."
"No thanks, I actually was searching-"
"Guess who?" someone asked while putting their hand in front of my eyes.
I smiled as I took them off.
We hugged each other tightly as if we haven't seen each other in years.
"Real cute the moment, but are you going to play or not?" asked Cheryl, rolling her eyes.
Henry said yes at the same time I said no. I sighed as she pulled me to sit next to Archie's friend as she sat beside me. On the first round, Archie went in the wardrobe with Veronica, Betty looking very worried.
"Did you..." she looked my way, "tell the truth to that person?"
She nodded, and so did I, looking at her reaction.
"Are you Alek's cousin? I'm Henry, her best friend from Conister," Henry said, shaking Betty's hand.
"I'm Betty. Nice to meet you... and nice tattoo. "
At this word I frowned and tugged her arm. In the inside of her wrist was a Rhododendron shrub with a crow standing next to it. Seeing this on my friends arm, I felt like I was suffocating.
"Excuse me," I said suddenly getting up, "I'm going to get some fresh air."
I went back outside, ignoring Henry calling my name.
"I don't want to hear it Henry. I... I just can't believe it."
"Why do you make such a big deal out of it?"
I scoffed, one of my hand going on my head.
"Why- why do I make such a big deal out of it? I wouldn't if you didn't show up with this tattoo!"
"What's the problem? You did it."
"Henry! My childhood town has changed. I don't know who is who. I'm not sure I can protect myself, how am I even supposed to protect you?"
"You don't have to anymore, you remember?"
She showed me her wrist again.
"Show me your house now," she continued, "I look forward to see how the place you spent one third of your childhood looks like."
We quit the party earlier, so I could show her how my aunt's house looked like. We went top my bedroom, where Ryry made herself comfortable.
"Aw.. the house is sweet and welcoming! The complete opposite of you."
"If you saw the host, you'd take your words back. Do you wanna stay here for the night?"
"I can't, my sister told me she'd wait for me, even if I had to show up 5 hours late."
"See you at school then?"
"Nope! I'll be going to Southside High."
"Then let's keep up by text."
I accompanied her to the door, staying on the porch with my camera. Betty was already inside, as I heard movement in her room. I was looking at the pictures I took way earlier in my life. My camera was a gift from my mom, when I was seven. Since my parents were already separated, I counted on myself to be careful with any gift that my mom gave me, since I was living with my dad. I fell on that picture, the first one I took, as soon as I received the gift. It was a picture of both my parents, kissing my brother's cheek. The quality of the photo was really awful, but it was filled with feelings. I heard the door open and saw my father coming closer to me.
"What are you doing?"
He saw the picture I was watching and smiled slightly.
"Great picture, right?" I mumbled
"I miss her too, Alek, your mother was the love of my life. Even though I couldn't accept her lifestyle."
"I don't only miss her. I miss my brother"
"Do you want me to call him?"
"No, dad. I want to see him."
"I'll see what I can do," he said, going back to the house.
As I was going to follow him, I saw Archie going out of his house with nothing but pants and shoes. I kind of questioned it, but shook it off and went inside to sleep.