Boys-in-town

21 Questions - The Second Question

This part will have more of the scenes in the series to put a little back story and things into perspective. Very minimal changes were made in the dialogues.

When the news broke out that Cheryl Blossom was found at Sweetwater River, soaking wet and without her beloved twin brother Jason Blossom by her side, everyone was beyond shocked. What first started as a simple outing between two siblings ended tragically at the demise of Riverdale’s golden boy. The town once innocent has been overshadowed by the mystery of the missing boy’s body who was presumed to have drowned and whose body was brought along by the river.

As if that wasn’t shock enough, on the evening of Riverdale High’s homecoming dance, an event to commemorate Jason Blossom, the said boy’s body was discovered by the Sheriff’s son Kevin Keller. The town would have continued to mourn the tragic accident had it been not for the bullet wound found piercing Jason’s forehead. The case had been reopened and was now considered a homicide – if not murder.

Buzz Buzz

Betty glanced at her phone. She was busy readying herself for school, her mind set on putting what happened at the Homecoming and After Party at the back of her mind. She even planned on going to Archie’s house so they could walk together despite her mom’s reminder this morning of how Veronica and Archie had already shown their ‘true colors’. She admits, it was hard to forget how Archie’s face looked when she mentioned them being the power couple.

Jughead: Did you hear about Golden Boy?

Betty: I know. Crazy right? I’m gonna ask Kevin later about it. Wanna come?

Jughead: I’ll pass.

Betty frowned at Jughead’s message. A part of her felt sad that Jughead wanted to be alone and far from their circle of friends. Another part felt lonely as she wanted to have someone back her up given the situation she got herself into with Archie and Veronica. She knew she could count on Kevin but then again, she didn’t want to burden any more people with what she’s facing.

A few minutes later, Betty found herself knocking on the Andrews’ door, her heart banging against her ribcage.

“You can do this Betty. I know you can.” She breathed heavily and looked straight on. As if on cue, her ginger friend had opened the door, clearly surprised to find her there.

“Walk me to school?” She asked casually. She saw the look of relief on Archie’s face as he nodded. There was still a pinch in her heart from remembering how Archie had turned down her proposition of being a couple but as the saying goes, life must go on.

“Betty, about last night –” he started.

“How about we agree not to talk about it Archie? It would save us all the trouble. I mean, I think we could agree that our friendship is on top of everything. At least we’ll be on the same page about that.” She felt a lump in hear throat as she tried to bury whatever feelings she had for her friend at the back of everything. It’s hard trying to be bigger than the problem but she’s gotta try right?

“Okay, I understand.” He said, dropping whatever he intended on saying.

Betty was thankful and at the same time slightly disappointed that he didn’t fight to talk about what happened. It clearly shows that he stood by his answer last night and that sleeping on it didn’t change the fact that they were just friends.

Upon arriving in school, Betty was greeted by Kevin who looked unshaken by the recent events. For someone who tripped on Jason’s dead body, he was taking it calmly.

“Hey, how are you feeling?” Betty said while walking in the school corridors with her friend.

“What, about finding the body? Creeped out to say in the least Betty. But I’m also frustrated at a certain Bulldog whose name rhymes with Goose.” He said rolling his eyes.

Betty’s eyebrows knotted in confusion. “You mean Moose—”

“Shhh! Don’t say his name out loud. I swear that boy can hear like a mile away.”

“So what’s up with you and Goose?” She said awkwardly which earned another eye roll.

“He’s just like any typical boy who’s going through a confused phase in his life. And I’m just a guy who’s got spare time to entertain such. It’s nothing serious. After all, he is dating Midge.” He said nonchalantly.

Betty admired how her friend was able to handle this head on. She somehow wished she could be just like everyone else who can shrug a heartbreak in a blink of an eye. .

She was supposed to ask him more about it but both their attention was taken aback by the bouquet of yellow roses on top of Betty’s table at the student center.

“Oh my God, those are gorgeous. Are those for Betty, Mrs. Philips?” Kevin said before picking up the card.

“That’s why I called her.” The secretary said in a irritated voice, clearly annoyed with the students and their drama.

“Who is it from?” Kevin opened the card and read it’s content but Betty already had an idea of who gave it to her.

“It’s probably from V—” she started but was cut off by the blue jasmine herself.

“—Veronica. The yellow is for friendship.” She said coming in with a smile and another peace offering in her hands. “It’s magnolia cupcakes straight from New York. As like what my mom used to say, there’s no wrong that can’t be corrected by the right cupcake.”

Kevin raised an eyebrow at Veronica and cast a glance at Betty, as if saying Was she serious?

Betty shrugged her shoulders and just smiled. “I swear B, I’m so sorry for what happened the other night. It was clearly a bitch move. I have no excuse for what I did.”

For some reason, Betty saw and heard the sincerity in Veronica’s apology. She just nodded and Veronica looked pleased.

“I promise I’ll make it up to you. I booked us a mani pedi at Hers & Hers, we can go there after school?” She had a hopeful look in her face.

“Sure.” Betty answered. Veronica squealed in joy and hugged her before linking arms with her and pulling her towards their usual place.

She saw the look Kevin gave her but she just shrugged and allowed Veronica to pull her away.

When they arrived, Betty saw Archie with his guitar on hand, strumming a few notes.

“Anything new for us today Archiekins?” Veronica asked trying to keep things casual.

“Nothing finished. It’s still in the works.” He said.

“Let’s hear it.” Kevin prompted. He looked from Kevin to Veronica who both signaled that he should do it to avoid any tension.

“I’d love to hear it Arch.” Betty said in a soft voice.

Archie nodded and started playing.

As if her mind were playing tricks on her, memories of her and Archie dancing flashed in her mind followed by the look on his face when she mentioned about being together. She saw how Veronica and Archie entered Cheryl’s closet, not once casting a glance at their hurting friend.

She felt her chest constrict at the pain it caused and looked away from her best friend. Her once safe place was now tainted by the unrequited feelings and rejection.

“Betty? You okay?” She hadn’t noticed that he stopped playing and was now looking at her with concern in his eyes.

“I’m supposed to say yes, being the nice girl but I can’t.” Her voice broke as tears formed in her eyes. She stood quickly and ran off far from the gang only to be followed by Archie.

“Betty wait!” He pulled her arm causing her to face him.

“I’m sorry Archie. I thought I could pretend that everything is okay but it’s not. When I think of a safe and happy place, I think of us in a booth at Pop’s or at the homecoming dancing together. But then I’ll always be reminded of the way you looked when I told you I loved you and it’s not the same anymore.” The tears she had tried her best to hold escaped from her eyes.

“I love you too Betty. You know that. But just not the way that you want me to. You’re the perfect girl. But I’m not sure I deserve someone like you.” His eyes were pleading but the case was long gone. For the second time in two days, Betty’s heart was crushed by the person she trusted the most.

She pulled her hand from his and ran towards the school, far from the person who caused her pain. Far from Archie Andrews, the guy who used to make her feel giddy but now tore everything to pieces. She knew this would happen. She just didn’t expect it to hurt this much.

Her feet brought her to the dusty Blue and Gold office. She sat in front of the computer and placed her head in her hands. She finally let herself cry for the loss of a once innocent love, a love doomed to be unrequited.

She stayed in that place for an hour or so, missing her class. Betty wasn’t one to skip lessons but she figured, this was better than looking like a horrible monster with puffy and bloodshot eyes.

She looked around the office after she was done crying. She saw the old articles once published by the Blue and Gold paper. They used to take pride in print journalism before everything went digital. She felt an idea coming to her and immediately texted the perfect person who would consider doing it with her.

She pocketed her phone and went on to the gym for the River vixen’s practice. Her teachers might be forgiving if she missed out on a class but she doubted Cheryl would be. Especially now after what they all found out about Jason. She was definitely on boss level bitch mode.

She checked her eye in the mirror to see if the puffiness had died down. It was still red but at least it just looked like an allergy. Maybe Cheryl would stay away from her thinking it might be contagious. A girl could only hope.

“Betty, where have you been? You missed lab earlier.” Veronica cornered her when she arrived at practice.

“I lost track of time. I was going over something and the next thing I know, it’s been an hour and classes were over.” She lied. She knew Veronica didn’t buy it one bit but then again who was she to question Betty? After all, their friendship was walking on a thin line. Any wrong move and everything would be over.

“You didn’t miss much anyway. Just Moose requesting to be partnered with Kevin. He looked dismayed.” She said trying to lighten up the mood.

“Is that so?” Betty answered with disinterest.

Veronica was about to say something when the queen vixen has arrived to start practice.

“Gather up ladies. Let’s get the show started.” Cheryl clapped her hands signaling everyone to go to their places.

After a few shouts here and there, practice was declared over when Cheryl had a brilliant idea of inviting the Pussycats at the pep rally.

“I swear I’m gonna need that pedicure after this. You coming Betty?” She looked at Veronica and felt that these little small talks she was starting were starting to get tiresome.

“I have homework.” Shpreplied.

“You know Cheryl hosting a pep rally is really showing something about her coping mechanism. It’s either she’s brilliant or psychotic.” Her raven haired friend said while stretching her legs.

“At least she’s not putting on an act. Pretending to be a butterfly when she’s actually a wasp.” Betty retorted. The look on Veronica’s face says that she was through being the nice girl.

“For the record, the only reason I went in with Archie was to stop Cheryl from doing so. I did it for you.” She said sitting up and facing her head on.

“Oh you did it for me then? So what, I’m supposed to thank you Veronica? Can you look me in the eye and tell me nothing happened between you and Archie in those 7 minutes?” She stood up and looked down on her ‘friend’, their emotions spiraling out of control.

Veronica was about to come up with something but Betty cut her off. “I think not.”

“Hey don’t blame me. It’s not my fault Archie doesn’t like you that way.” Veronica stood and crossed her arms.

“We were fine before you got here Veronica—”

“Oh by fine you mean you pinning after him and what? Waiting for him to catch on your feelings? Face it Betty. Whether I was here or not, it wouldn’t have changed he fact that what Archie has for you is simply platonic. You can’t blame him for that. Most of the time the people we like don’t like us back. Romeo and Juliet are just an exception to that rule.” Veronica said, every word spoken struck Betty with so much intensity. She was right. But she wouldn’t admit it to her friend.

“Great news ladies! The pussycats are in.” Cheryl chimed in. When she noticed the tension between the two, it’s as if she felt happier. “Oh did I interrupt something?”

“Actually Cheryl yes—” Veronica started.

“No. We were done talking.” Betty said gaining a look from Veronica. “By the way, I have an extra gift certificate from Hers & Hers for a pedi, you wanna come with me?”

“Don’t you dare.” Veronica warned.

“Back off closet monster. You had your chance. Let’s go B.” She linked her arm to Betty’s and pulled her away. Betty gave one final look to Veronica before letting Cheryl drag her away.

Jughead fingers were on fire. He needed the distraction. He had finally found inspiration to write his novel with Riverdale’s very own In Cold Blood. He felt bad at some point for immortalizing Jason Blossom’s death on paper but the recent events have sparked something inside of him. Therefore taking out his deerstalker hat, he resolved to figure out who caused the golden boy’s demise. He could think of one person who would be perfect to be his John Watson. He took out his phone and was surprised to see a message was already waiting.

Betty: Meet me at the Blue and Gold tomorrow? I have a proposition.

Jughead: Me too. See you at 7?

Jughead smiled at Betty’s attempt to bring back the lost time in summer. True to her word, she made sure that she would check on him once a day at a minimum. Jughead constantly had to remind himself that this was just Betty being the compassionate friend she is and nothing more left for a different interpretation. He knew he had to draw the line with the budding feeling he keeps on getting whenever he sees or talks to his blonde friend. It was a dangerous place to stay at after all.

When the door to Pop’s sounded, signaling the entrance of a customer, Jughead couldn’t help but tear his gaze away from his laptop. He saw how the raven haired girl, who was causing the rift between his best friend and ex best friend, enter and talk to one of the staff at Pop’s. He was surprised that the girl who dressed like a rich girl called the waitress “Mom”. He wasn’t one to judge so he knew there was more to this girl than just catching Archie’s interest.

He decided to leave Pop’s to visit his ‘friend’ and confront him about what he saw earlier at the school music room. It took him everything to restrain himself from telling Betty what he had witnessed earlier today. One, he didn’t want to hurt Betty any more than she already is by telling her that her best friend slash love was screwing the music teacher. And two, he wanted to make sure of his facts before actually doing something about it. What better way to do it than to get the information directly from the horse’s mouth right?

So he waited. He waited for his ex-best friend to arrive. He sat on their porch and watched as the sun had gone down before the man of the night decided to show himself.

“Jughead, what are you doing here?” His ginger friend said in surprise.

“Well Archie, I came here to ask you about what I saw a while ago at school. In the music room. You and Ms. Grundy. Ring a bell?” He outright put his cards on the table. There was no need for some beating around the bush.

“Keep your voice down Jughead. My dad’s inside.” He stepped forward and lowered his voice.

“So you aren’t denying it? Archie what are you thinking? Is she taking advantage of you?” Jughead felt a rise in his emotions.

“You don’t have a right to say that. You don’t know anything. What Geraldine and I have..”

“Oh so it’s Geraldine?” He scoffed. “So I guess she’s the reason why you were acting strange all summer?”

“One of them.” He looked down in embarrassment.

“One of them? There’s more?”

“We were at the Sweetwater River on July 4th. We heard a gunshot.” He said.

The gears in Jughead’s brain had started working and he found a new reason to hate on his best friend. “And you didn’t think this information was vital to the investigation of Jason’s murder? Just who are you protecting Archie?”

“Geraldine told me not to. If I come up to Sheriff Keller then we won’t be together anymore.” He reasoned out.

Jughead wanted to tell him more things but decided against it. His friend was a lost cause. Trapped between the webs of Geraldine Grundy.

“You know what? The Archie I once knew would choose what is right than what is easy.” He said before walking away from his friend.

He badly wanted to go to Betty and let out his frustration on Archie but he knew he shouldn’t add to her problems. He didn’t want to. He decided to blow off steam at Pop’s and let his fingers work it’s magic on his novel.

Buzz Buzz

Betty was getting ready for school when her phone lit up.

Jughead: Can we meet at B&G tom instead? I have some things to do.

Betty felt disheartened at her friend’s last minute cancellation. She had a lot of things she wanted to talk about with him and she thought it was about time for their 2nd question.

She quickly replied an okay before heading off to school. She was looking forward to seeing Veronica as she had resolved that she would fix things with her.

Her time with Cheryl didn’t end up well yesterday. It turns out, Cheryl was fishing for information on her sister Polly as she suspected her to be Jason’s killer. Betty could be protective when it comes to Polly. It certainly was a sensitive issue for her.

Spotting her at the lockers, Betty grabbed her books and attempted to strike a conversation. “You were right.”

Veronica turned to look at her blonde friend and gave a little nod of acknowledgement.

“Those things you said about Archie. I guess you could say it’s hard to admit things to yourself.” She said. “The boy I like doesn’t like me back.”

“You know Archie may not be crushing on you, but he definitely loves you. And he’s miserable without you.” Betty looked down and sighed. “My mom used to tell me, sometimes a friend is better than a boyfriend. Maybe this is one of those times.”

Betty nodded in agreement.

“Hey Betty you wanna hang out at the Lounge?” Kevin said. He was surprised to see Betty with Veronica, knowing about their small feud and all.

“Sure.” She said. She turned to look at Veronica “See you around.”

Kevin and Betty were discussing about the upcoming pep rally this afternoon when Reggie Mantle started spewing about his theories on who killed Jason Blossom. Betty felt anger bubble in her chest when Reggie implied that Jughead was the killer, being ‘dark and brooding’ all the time. He even suggested that the boy did things to the body after killing him.

“It’s called necrophilia Reggie. Can you spell it?” Betty felt proud for her friend but it was short lived when Reggie tried to tackle Jughead. She felt her heart race when the angered teen almost hit her friend. She was thankful that Archie was there to stop him and all but it didn’t help that Reggie insinuated that he was in on it with Jughead. Archie pushed him which caused a fight to break and ended up with Reggie landing a punch on the ginger, knocking him down.

Moose pulled his friend away from the scene and Veronica immediately ran to Archie’s side to check on him. Betty was supposed to do the same when she noticed that her beanie wearing friend slipped out of the lounge. She opted to follow him instead given that Kevin and Veronica were already there to attend to her ginger friend.

“Juggie!” She called out, making him stop on his tracks and allowing her to catch up on him.

“I think you’re mistaken Betts. Archie Andrews is still at the lounge. You might wanna go check on him.” He said, his stance indicated that he was prepared to leave so Betty held on to his arm.

“No Juggie. I came for you. I wanted to check on you.” She said softly.

“I wasn’t the one who got punched but thank you for the concern. Can I go now?”

Betty felt hurt that Jughead was pushing her away. She felt genuine concern for him as he almost got hit by Reggie earlier. She didn’t understand what’s the reason behind his attitude so she thought of only one way to make him open up.

“I want my second question now.” She said with determination.

Jughead couldn’t hide the surprise that registered on his face. He wasn’t expecting Betty to pull her cards at the moment. He knew he could answer whatever she asked but he really wasn’t in the mood. He feared that he will spill more than what he should reveal. But Jughead didn’t want to use his pass card either.

He sighed in defeat and let his blonde friend have her way.

“Fine. Ask away.” He tried to be as nonchalant as possible but his heart was racing in his chest.

“Why are you running away from me?” He was caught off guard by her simple question. He expected her to ask why he bailed on her this morning or why he’s pushing her towards Archie. Those questions, he could’ve given a simple answer. But then the question she threw at him was just too personal and close to what he wasn’t prepared admit anytime soon.

“I’m not.” He tried to stall but the look on her face meant business. He gave out another sigh before deciding to tell the truth. “I didn’t expect you to follow me Betts. I had my mind set on you going to Archie first and not me. I was just… surprised that’s all. I didn’t think you’d bother to check on me. After all, I wasn’t the one who got pummeled.”

Betty felt her chest constrict at how Jughead thought of himself as unimportant. She had wanted so much to make him feel that he was important to her and that he was not going to be a second thought to her. Not after their conversation the other day.

“Juggie… I worry about you. Regardless if you weren’t hit, I was scared that you would’ve been hurt.” Jughead felt raw emotions overwhelm him and he almost couldn’t stop his arms from pulling her into a tight embrace. But he knew better. He knew better than to show his intentions to Betty especially now when she was still moving on from Archie. He didn’t plan on becoming a rebound after all. He will just have to wait things out.

“If you and Archie were on fine terms, would you have still come after me?” Betty was taken aback by his question.

“Is that your second question?” She clarified to which had earned her a nod.

“I…” she started.

In all honestly, Jughead prepared to hear a no. He knew that if things had been ok with Betty and Archie, she would’ve come to his side without a second glance at him. She may have even tried to stop Reggie from landing that punch and put herself in harm’s way. It’s trait of Betty’s that Jughead was definitely not a fan of.

“To be honest? I think yes.” Jughead was surprised by her admission and was more surprised at how excited his heart had felt at her words. He was starting to find this heart beating wildly thing to be a tad too troublesome.

“I told you didn’t I? I care about you Juggie. And being on good terms with Archie won’t change that fact.” He could’ve opted to push her further to expound on her answer but decided against it. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to hear her answer to what he had in mind. He could reserve that for a later time. He wasn’t in a rush after all.

He nodded at her. He was about to ask something when she was called on by one of the River Vixens. Apparently, they had to do last minute practice before the pep rally.

“To be continued?” He said, stealing one of her lines. She laughed at it and nodded goodbye.

As Jughead stared at the retreating back of his best friend Betty Cooper, he could be certain of a few things:

One, he held a special place in her heart that he wasn’t complaining about. Clearly she proved to him that she wasn’t just doing it because she was on bad terms with Archie and he greatly appreciated that he finally had someone he can go to in times of need.

Two, Betty Cooper was the most compassionate girl he had ever met and he would make it as one of his life missions to ensure that she won’t get hurt by anyone. He would protect her no matter what even if it meant him being hurt in the process.

And finally, three, he hated to admit it to himself but it seems that his buried feelings for his best friend has started to resurface and has come back with vengeance. It was like spring time after a long cold winter.

He would be so screwed if he doesn’t keep things in check.

2

Remember that time Topanga was trying to prove a point to Cory that looks don’t matter, and it ended up with her cutting a chunk of her hair off and you could legit hear the loud gasps coming from the live audience and everybody almost had a mini heart attack cause lets be real, Topanga’s long hair was legendary. But then everyone calmed down when she walked out the hair salon and slayed everyone’s existence? Cause I sure do.

Monday 8:27am
I woke up with you on my mind.
You called me babe last night —
my heart is still pounding.

Tuesday 10:53pm
Today I realized we won’t work.
What we are is hurting her.
And I think she matters more to me than you do.

Wednesday 11:52pm
I broke things off with you today.
She barely said a word.
I’ve never regretted anything more than this.

Thursday 4:03pm
I shouldn’t have sent that message.
You shouldn’t have been so okay with receiving it.

Friday 9:57pm
I almost messaged you today.
I didn’t.

Saturday 8:49pm
I’m walking around town in search of alcohol.
They say that liquor numbs the pain of having a broken heart.
I want to put that to the test.

Sunday 2:32am
I heard you texted a girl you’ve never spoken to before.
I wonder if it’s because you’re trying to replace me.
I can’t help but wish you weren’t.
I thought I was irreplaceable.

—  a week with you on my mind, c.j.n.
Looking back, I can’t remember the truth. I blew everything out of proportion so I could feel the hurt and betrayal and write about it in vivid detail. It was my own method of torture. My own undoing; and I enjoyed every second of it.
—  c.j.n.