Hi!! I've spent the last few hours just reading your work and omg I love the way you interpret the prompts! You're making the long hiatus so much better already and I can't wait to read more! I have a prompt request as well: friends with benefits to realizing they like each other (with some angst added in!) thank you!!! :)
First of all thank you so much, that’s so sweet of you! Second of all, here it is! This is more playful than angsty but I still hope it’s okay!
AU: Jughead never went to Riverdale High and never became friends with Betty and the gang the way they were supposed to. Archie, Jughead, and Betty were close in middle school, but once they parted ways and Jughead followed in his father’s footsteps of becoming a Serpent, their relationship was never the same.
Betty brushed past Cheryl Blossom as she hurried her way down the freshly-mowed lawn of Riverdale High’s courtyard, nearly snagging her baby blue sweater on one of Cheryl’s particularly sharp insect brooches as their shoulders slammed into one another.
“B, where the hell have you been?” Veronica called to her from their usual picnic table at the end of the quad, her prized set of pearls shining elegantly in the mid-afternoon sunlight.
Ignoring the icy glare that Cheryl tossed in her direction, Betty maneuvered her way through the crowd of chatting classmates to slip her way onto the bench of the picnic table next to Kevin, just as Veronica turned to narrow her eyes at Betty. “I’ve had to listen to Cheryl’s incessant ramblings regarding the subpar quality of her brand new Louboutins for the past half hour and trust me, when I reach the point of boredom beyond repair talking about designer shoes, you know there’s a problem.”
“Sorry, something came up,” Betty mumbled, shrugging off her pale pink backpack and placing it on the wooden surface in front of her.
“There have been a lot of things ‘coming up’ lately,” Veronica pointed out. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say our little, not-so-innocent Elizabeth Cooper has a man in her life she’s been hiding from us.”
“Yeah, right,” Betty scoffed, unzipping her bag and rummaging through its contents to find the salt and vinegar chips she didn’t eat at lunch. “You know how terrible I am at keeping secrets. Remember your surprise birthday party last year?”
“How could I forget? You asked me to come over to help you with an English paper,” Veronica recounted the event in question, shaking her head in shame at Betty’s failed attempt at such a classic form of surprise. “The day Betty Cooper asks Veronica Lodge for homework advice, you know there has to be something else going on.”
Betty’s lips curled into a slight smile, her expression distant as she reached into the bag of chips and popped one into her mouth, repeating this process for several minutes without blinking or acknowledging that there were other people sitting at the table with her.
“Kind of like now,” Veronica mumbled, waving a perfectly manicured set of nails in front of her in an attempt to snap her out of the trance she had fallen into. “Look at her face, Kev. There’s something wrong with it.”
“You’re right, V,” Kevin concurred, leaning in close and tilting Betty’s chin towards him with a flick of his thumb. “There’s an actual smile on it. Hell must have frozen over.”
“Hey, I smile!” Betty defended herself, her too-tight ponytail nearly smacking Kevin in the face as she whirled around to look from Veronica, to Kevin, and back again.
“Not since Polly-” Kevin started to explain, but before he could get the words out, Veronica lunged across the table to place a hand over his mouth, nearly knocking various textbooks and papers onto the grass in the process.
“Shhh!” Veronica quieted him. “Kevin, we agreed that bringing up such events should be handled as if one were at Hogwarts and in the position of saying the name Voldemort - you just don’t do it!”
“Sorry,” Kevin shrank back onto his spot on the bench. “Let me rephrase. You’ve been a little down the past few months, but lately-”
“You’re happier than Kevin during a Brad Pitt movie marathon,” Veronica finished for him, her eyes dancing wildly as she leaned in to point a finger in Betty’s direction. “And that can only mean one thing.”
“Betty Cooper: number one in her class, editor of the Blue and Gold and all around girl next door, is getting a little ‘Fifty Shades of Freaky’ with one of Riverdale High’s finest young bachelors,” Kevin concluded, his arms crossing in front of his chest as if he were proud of himself for solving such a complicated riddle.
“I am not!” Betty protested. “You two have way too much time on your hands if you’re speculating why I’ve been smiling more lately.”
“What kind of friends would we be if we didn’t notice such things,” Kevin pointed out, his gaze suddenly leaving his friends to focus on the parking lot in front of them. “Kind of like how I’ve noticed Jughead Jones’ massive biceps lately, holy hot and bothered Rolling Stone-meets-Abercrombie you can actually see them bulging through that leather jacket.”
The boy in question stepped out of his midnight-black 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner, his dark hair falling effortlessly over his eyes as he moved to shut the driver’s side door.
“Joining the Southside Serpents has really sat well with his upper body muscles,” Veronica admired, her mouth hanging open slightly as he pulled out a cigarette and lighter from his jacket pocket like he was plucked straight out a scene from the Outsiders. “Too bad he doesn’t go here anymore, I would love to run my hands up and down those-”
“Veronica!” Betty’s eyes went wide as she turned to glare at her friend, whose mouth was practically watering as she took in Jughead leaning against the classic car and taking a drag from his cigarette like she was watching the most sensual thing she had ever laid eyes on. “Last time I checked you still have a boyfriend, or have you forgotten about our good pal Archie Andrews. You know, captain of the football team, lead singer of his very own rock band, Riverdale High honor student. Ring any bells?”
“Oh please, I’m allowed to window shop as long as I resist throwing anything into my basket,” Veronica muttered, picking up her copy of The Sun Also Rises and fanning herself with it, even though it was a perfectly cool fall afternoon that didn’t even come close to meriting such actions.
“That’s wrong on so many levels,” Betty mumbled, pushing her half-eaten bag of chips away from her and wiping her greasy fingers down the front of her sweater.
“What’s Jughead doing here anyway?” Kevin wondered. “I thought he and Archie stopped talking once he moved schools a few years ago.”
“He’s here to see me actually,” Betty admitted, turning in her spot on the bench to look at Jughead for the first time since he had pulled into the parking lot. “He was the best writer we had at the the junior newspaper in middle school and no one’s ever come close to filling his shoes, so he’s helping me out a few times a week after school at the Blue and Gold.”
“You sure he’s not helping you out with a few other things too?” Veronica wiggled her eyebrows at Betty suggestively, her lips creeping up into an amused smile as Betty narrowed her eyes at her.
“Just friends, Veronica,” Betty assured her. “Jughead isn’t Archie’s favorite person right now and after everything that’s happened with their fathers - I just - I wouldn’t do that to him, okay?”
“Whatever you say, B,” Veronica shrugged, still looking unconvinced as she reached underneath the table to retrieve her cheer bag. “Okay, I have to go find Cheryl before River Vixens practice so I can warn her that the choreography she’s been throwing at us is too 90′s cheer routine and not enough Beyonce video like we were going for.”
“Yeah, and I have to go witness the bloodbath of bitchy, yet impressively clever insults that is sure to occur as a result so we’ll see you later, Betty,” Kevin followed Veronica’s lead as she made her way away from the picnic table, the giddiness in his expression made even more evident by the enthused squeal escaping his lips as he bent down to pick up his backpack.
“Bye, guys,” Betty called out to them, shaking her head in amusement as she watched them round the corner to head back into the school.
Betty kept her gaze focused on the chemistry textbook resting open in front of her as she saw the movement coming from the parking lot out of the corner of her eye. Jughead had pushed off his car and was slowly making his way onto the sidewalk leading up to the courtyard. Her breath caught in her throat as he took a step closer. And another. And an-
“And then there was one,” Jughead announced, his leather-clad sleeve brushing the soft fabric of her sweater as he slid his way onto the picnic table next to her. “What’s it like without chatter mouth one and two attached to your hip?”
“I don’t know,” Betty sat up straight, turning slightly on the bench to quirk a challenging eyebrow in his direction. “What’s it like without your manhood to back up that newfound edginess that drives all the girls crazy? Wanna find out?”
“Betty Cooper,”Jughead beamed, one leg tucking underneath itself so that he could turn his body to face hers completely. “Throwing the banter back at me like we’re in a 1940′s black and white screwball comedy. I like it.”
“You’re early,” Betty noticed, her eyes focusing back on the periodic table displayed on the inside cover of the chemistry book.
“I ditched the last two periods,” Jughead shrugged nonchalantly, scooping up the abandoned bag of chips on the table and tossing back a handful into his mouth. “I figured that I’ve already learned as much as I needed to know about 17th Century England and the Taming of the Shrew to pass with at least a C in both history and English and still function in the real world like an adequately intelligent human being so why not skip out early and come see you?”
Jughead crumpled up the now-empty chip bag and tossed it behind him, missing the trashcan completely as he looked back to watch it roll onto the grass. Leaning in close, Jughead rubbed a hand on her knee resting underneath the table, his breath tickling the exposed skin of her neck and nearly causing a thrilled giggle to escape her lips.
“Jug,” Betty warned, reaching down to remove the hand slowly creeping its way up her thigh and turning to give him a leveled glare. “We agreed, remember?”
“You agreed,” Jughead corrected. “I said friends with benefits was a dated form of emotional torture that benefits neither party in any meaningful way.”
“Isn’t that the point?” Betty reminded him. “To not get attached in a way that lets you mean something to the other person?”
“I think that ship has sailed,” Jughead admitted, his eyes flicking to hers with a vulnerable state of truth-turned-worry when he realized that she might night have felt the same way. “At least on my part anyways.”
“You know that we can’t be anything more than what we are,” Betty explained. “At least not right now.”
“Because Archie blames me for my father’s involvement in his father’s shooting and he would love nothing more than to see me strung up on the mantle of his nice and cozy family-sized home,” Jughead recalled, his eyes rolling backwards dramatically sliding his leg back underneath the table and facing the empty set of picnic tables across the courtyard. “Yeah, you said that when we first started - whatever you want to call this. Doesn’t mean I understand it. And it doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
“Juggie,” Betty whispered, resisting the urge to reach out and caress his cheek affectionately the way she had grown accustomed to since they had started their relationship nearly eight weeks before.
“You know how I feel about you, Betty,” Jughead told her, his eyes softening slightly as his head turned to smile weakly down at her lips. “And I think that if you were being completely honest with yourself, you know exactly how you feel about me too.”
Betty knew he was right. She knew that she felt more than just lust, coupled with the added bonus of orchestrating their clandestine meetings, for the boy from the Southside who was more than just his leather jacket and tough demeanor. But she couldn’t risk her friendship with either boy in her life by making things official. Not yet.
“This is the way things have to be right now,” Betty sighed. “At least until Mr. Andrews gets out the hospital and everything just - settles down. Please, Jughead. I don’t want to lose you. But I don’t want to lose him either.”
Betty held Jughead’s gaze, her bottom lip jutting out slightly as her teeth automatically reached out to bite down on the tender skin there, a habit she had formed around the time she had started seeing Jughead in a little-more-than-just-friends kind of way.
“God, why do you have to do that thing with your bottom lip,” Jughead mumbled, his eyes flicking down to her pink lips with a fleck of longing in his gaze. “You know that drives me insane.”
“I know,” Betty beamed, her eyebrow quirking flirtatiously up in his direction. “Why do you think I do it so often?”
“Okay, if we’re still playing by these ridiculous rules you’ve set in place then we better get to the Blue and Gold room because I’m feeling the overwhelming urge to kiss you,” Jughead breathed, his heart beating wildly as Betty’s leg brushed against his, making his palms sweat in the best way possible. “Now.”
“Then what are we waiting for,” Betty leaned in close to Jughead as if she were going to meet her lips to his, but swung her legs out from underneath the picnic table at the last second and stood in front of him with her hands on her hips. “Race you.”
“You’re on.” Jughead grabbed Betty’s bag off the table and sprinted after her, not even noticing that there had been a figure lurking in the shadows who had witnessed their intimate exchange with a devious smile plastered on her flaming red lips. Turning on her less-than-adequate Louboutin heel, Cheryl let her waist-length red hair swing playfully behind her as she sauntered her way to cheer practice, already scheming and plotting how she was going to use this juicy new development to her advantage.