She hated college parties almost as much as she hated the impossibly tight skirt she’d crammed herself into hours prior in some poor attempt to gain his attention. She knew better than to think he’d show up if she put it on, that’s not how their relationship worked. Bumping into him as she ran across campus, her hair in a messy bun and her glasses falling down her nose because she ripped her last pair of contacts, sure; that was a normal Tuesday. But on a night like tonight, with her hair perfectly wavy and her red stained lips practically screaming for someone to push her against a wall and kiss her long and hard and dirty, he was nowhere to be found.
Still, she found herself peering over the top of the plastic cup that she clung to with false security, searching for his dark hair. Her eyes settled on the red-haired boy from her statistics class and she offered him a dismissive smile when he nodded at her. He was handsome she supposed, in a perfectly safe, take you home to meet his mom, sex with the lights off kind of way. She knew that choosing a man like him would be the safe choice; he’d never cheat on her, never leave her staring at her phone as she begged for him to call, never bend close to her ear and whisper provocative words that danced deliciously down her spin. He’d never do any of that.
“This place is the worst,” her friend Betty whined as she came up behind her, yelling in an attempt to drown out the awfully predictable music.
“Wanna get out of here?” she turned to her, a defeated smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.
“Oh, Vee,” she reached down and laced their fingers together, “I’m sorry that he didn’t come.”
“Who?” she feigned confusion as she fluttered her lashes and squared her shoulders. Never let them see you sweat her father had always said.
“Ok,” her friend chuckled pulling her through the crowd, her hand reaching in the air to signal to the boy in the corner that it was time to go.
“Come on Betts, let him stay,” Veronica shrugged as she eyed their friend Kevin who appeared to be in a very heated debate with some kids from his business law class.
“This place is so disgusting,” Betty winced as she reached for the door handle, pulling her hand back as something sticky and wet clung to her hand.
“I’m telling you this is the last time we ever have to step foot in here,” Veronica reached for a coat that was hanging by the door and draped it over the door knob to protect her perfectly manicured hand.
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” she laughed at her, stepping onto the porch and rubbing her hands together for warmth, “You are going to get frost bite out here in that skirt, and those heels were a highly impractical choice considering the walk home,” Betty teased as they moved down the stairs.
“You don’t wear heels like these for practicality,” Veronica scoffed, stopping to pull her phone from her clutch. “We’re calling a cab, I’m not hauling myself all the way uptown after this letdown of a night.”
“Betty!” a voice from down the street called out. Veronica didn’t even need to turn around to know who it was, because when it came to being lucky in love, Betty always drew the high card.
“Jug!” Betty smiled brightly, giggling as he caught up with them and wrapped his arms around her.
“Please tell me you’re not leaving already,” he sighed, his hands lingering on her a second longer than any friend’s hands should. Veronica rolled her eyes and chuckled, Betty was so clueless it almost hurt to watch.
“It’s really bad in there,” Betty winced, “and if I had to listen to them play one more Chainsmokers song I would have absolutely died.”
“That’s a little dramatic for poor song choices,” he said, the cartoon hearts floating above his head seen by everyone but Betty.
“Is it though?” she quipped back, “A bad song can completely ruin the mood, but a good song, like really good song, can make the moment magic,” she sighed. Always the romantic, Veronica shook her head and stepped a few feet away to give them some privacy.
She scrolled through her phone absently, the disappointment of this night pulling heavily at her heart. Maybe Betty was right, all the bad music they were playing in there did seem to frame out the horrible night she’d had up to that point perfectly.
And that’s when she felt it, the rumble of his bike as it pulled slowly to a stop behind her, the engine running far longer than it needed to. He liked toying with her. One night, after far too many shots, she’d made the mistake of telling him just how many times she’d touched herself thinking of him on that bike. He laughed at that, the deep timber of his voice vibrating against her back as he leaned next to her ear and told her to show him. And god help her if she even hesitated for a moment before she found her hand trailing across her stomach and slipping teasingly beneath the waistband of her skirt.
He could get her to do anything.
She forced herself to stay still, afraid that all it would take would be a slight breeze to get her to turn around and fall into his trap. No, she had to be stronger than that, tonight would be the night that Veronica Lodge took back the power she’d so willingly turned over to him when they first met almost two years ago.
“Come on Duchess,” she felt his breath tickle across her neck as the smell of whiskey surrounded her, “Stay a little longer; we can play a little bit.”
She swallowed, her thighs squeezing together to force out the feeling that began to pool between them, “Think I have nothing better to do than to wait around some party for you?” She didn’t, she’d been waiting for this party all week, but she wasn’t about to show him her hand.
“I think you’d wait for me forever if I asked you to,” he chuckled, his fingers dancing across her hip as he pulled her back against him.
“You don’t know me as well as you think you do,” she felt the anger begin to rise in her stomach.
“Don’t I?” she could practically feel his smirk, “I know you wore this little skirt especially for me,” his hand trailed along the front until his fingers curved around the hem, pushing up between her thighs, “and I bet this is for me too.”
She closed her eyes tightly and pushed his hand away, pulling out of his grip before she turned around, fire in her eyes as she looked at him for the first time.
“You don’t get to touch me like that, remember?” she spat, “What were your words again?” she pushed him backwards as a an amused grin pulled at the corner of his mouth, “oh that’s right, ‘you’ve been a nice distraction’ and then something about needing to be free in our last year.”
“Baby,” he reached for her, the way she still reacted to him making her stomach turn.
“You know what?” she dodged his hands, taking a few steps back before turning quickly and marching down the sidewalk, “Thank you for reminding me of what a mistake you were,” she called over her shoulder.
She could hear Jughead say something to him and Betty offering some semblance of anger, although for Betty it probably still came across as pleasantly perfect. God bless her, but there wasn’t a mean bone in her entire body.
Veronica didn’t stop until she rounded the corner, allowing herself one second to glance down the block, enough time to see him smirking at her before she was fully behind the building, her chin trembling with anger as she bit back the tears in her eyes.
“Veronica,” Betty rounded the corner quickly, her arms already wrapped around her before she could even think of what to say, “he’s not even worth it.”
But Veronica knew that wasn’t true. He had a hold on her, and it was a miracle that she was able to walk away from him. Because no matter how angry she was in that moment, her heart still pulled for him. That was the problem with bad boys, you think you can change them, fix them up and turn them into the kind of guy that will dangerously crave you the way you crave them; but that’s not how it works, the bad boys will always be bad and you’ll just end up craving them even more.
“He is bullshit,” Veronica muttered, “and I am bullshit for still wanting him.”
“Let’s get you home,” Betty tried to sooth her, because no amount of sunshine would fix this problem for Veronica. Not tonight.
Fuck you, Sweets, she thought as they walked down the street together.