Protected | R.M.
Summary: Reggie Mantle grew up protecting what he loved.
I miss you.
You received the text on the first day of school, the instant your baby pink ballet flats maneuvered within the halls of Riverdale High, which were marginally filled with mayhem from everyone’s first day jitters.
Well, not everyone. You, despite your extra pretty face, extra shiny curls, and extra preppy outfit, wore a heavy façade that drooped lower than the Maybelline Fit Me-concealed eye-bags that were situated below your unexplained, cheery eyes that tried to greet everyone with much positivity as possible. As everyone knew your perfect reputation, the happy-go-lucky cheerleader that everyone admired and loved since the day you entered high school. It was never tarnished, so you refused to let a silly break-up move it at all.
You took out your phone and shakily gazed down at the message. It was sent in clear, with no emoji’s or silly grammatical errors. Your nervous fingers moved for you, but your brain was being silly that day and it had no planned response for the text message.
A wave of students accidentally crossed and one of them partially collided against your hardly five feet tall physique, which was a thankful jolt that rattled you off from replying to the text message. You squeezed the iPhone tightly, bearing no mind of the glittery fake diamonds from the phone case bearing harsh indentions against your palm.
The moment you were able to fix your locker and lock it behind you, you immediately set off to find a seat in the gym—hoping that an early departure from the first day madness would create a false sense of comfort from your inevitable fate, which was meeting your ex-boyfriend again subsequently after a summer of trying to forget all about him.
Everyone had always said that you were perfect for Reginald Mantle.
You were a girl blessed with your father’s dominant sloped nose and your mother’s graceful and tiny, ballerina body. Being the only child meant being under the revolving gaze of your mother and father’s watchful eyes twenty-four/seven, and you grew up to be accordingly limpid; yet, at the same time pretentious for you were the heir of one of the wealthiest families in Riverdale.
Reggie was a boy meant for you even before you knew what he was supposed to be. He was a constant person in your life, a fixture caused by your parents and his parents’ meddling. Though, despite your unending play times together and a hired tutor that taught you and him up until you were in middle school, Reggie and you grew up in different paths, in different aspects.
You and Reggie were in the opposite sides of the spectrum. Nevertheless, you were inexplicably drawn to him. He was exactly the same as you, but as the same time, so, so different.
He was difficult to figure out. He had pushed children off swing sets and had hogged all the toy cars to himself as he disliked sharing. You hated the smirk on his face when he teased his inferiors, and still you loved him when he kissed you goodnight. He’d hold you in the softest way possible, muscled arms entrapped around you with touch as light as a feather, and similarly he’d used the same arms dangerously with heated intent at someone else.
You never got why people often told you that he was perfect for you. He was, in your point of view, a mixture of positives and negatives. He was your opposite.
The thing about opposites was that when a unity occurred, it would be a co-existent dependency that held itself with tension.
You loved him more than he loved himself. That was probably the reason why the balance wasn’t right and he pushed himself off, leaving you in the dust.
“Are you alright?” Surprisingly, Cheryl Blossom would be the first person to question you that today. The said Blossom stood above you, her red curls down the right side of her chest, a hand on her hip and a raised eyebrow. You tried to hide the flinch that came with Cheryl’s edged tone, but she assumingly noticed it since she took it herself to sit next to you on that noisy lunch table.
“Talk to me,” she demanded. “I don’t want anyone on my squad to be sadder than my supposed star quality. You cannot rain on my parade on this week’s performance.”
“I’m fine,” you muttered as you picked on your salad.
“[y/n], a stupid boy doesn’t have the right to state your mood status.” She hissed. “There are 7 billion people in the world. God knows how much boys will there be after your life post-Reggie Man—“
“Damn, Cheryl,” You stood up. “I said I’m fine!”
Your words were a little too loud, and laced with anger. The whole open-lawn cafeteria went into a full pregnant pause from your little burst and your eyes betrayed you as it went to a familiar face that you couldn’t just let go off. His smirking, never ceasing, hardly-caring face wavered slightly as he looked your way, as everyone had. He looked down once before pushing his left foot off benched on the seat and faced in the opposite direction, going back into a conversation with Chuck Clayton.
You couldn’t care less what that meant and you sped off from your table, grabbing your cellphone with you. Opening the text message up on your interface, your quivering fingers typed out a reply before hitting send.
“I thought you said I couldn’t see you again,” the tall and handsome boy chuckled as he sat coolly on the stools that they had in Pop’s. His tousled, brown waves would shine into a blondish side under the neon lights of Pop’s infamous signs, and his pretty blue eyes would turn your messy head into a complete haze of white noise. “I missed you,” Jackson voiced out, echoing what he had recently texted you that morning.
It was seven in the evening, and mostly everyone had this night tacked to watch the last screening due for the closing Midnight Drive-In. You had thought to go but you knew that it would simply be another place that would haunt you again with memories that happened in the arms of a familiar stranger.
“I couldn’t resist,” you whispered zealously, biting your lip, then striding towards him until both of your faces had no space with each other. He kissed back passionately, and you followed along in accord, ignoring the way your heart bleated in a monotonous fashion, like it was a routine you followed every morning. Fingers tracing down his rugged, jean jacket, you stopped as it went to a tracing on his arm. A tattoo of a dangerous serpent.
“Watch it,” he pushed himself off you and went to slip down his sleeves. “Any good ‘ole folk wouldn’t wanna see that snake on a young thing’s skin.”
“A young thing, huh?” You titled your head, letting him caress your cheek. It made you feel like being touched by an intruder. You held your tongue from stating that out loud. “I heard that your buddies are over at the drive-in tonight.”
“—yeah,” the handsome, rugged boy agreed, holding your hand like a whisper. “But you’re much better than any movie, let’s agree. Pretty and innocent [y/n][y/l/n].”
“If my father saw you with me,” you told him with a trace of a smile hinting on your lips while leading the boy down to a booth. “He would freak,” you ended with a pendulous but crude smirk, as the feeling of going behind your parents’ back often created a brilliant feeling of teenage rebellion.
However, the light that would go unperturbed that night beneath the luminescence of you with the boy from the Serpents would go back unlit as a sudden burst of unexpected customers walked in the empty Pop’s.
It was a famous group of blue and yellow hues, the king, the boy in between the boisterous and rowdy laughs, and you couldn’t help but shake as his eyes immediately turned toward the serpent and your contumacious self.
“[y/n]?” Reggie Mantle took it upon himself to breeze through the rows of booths with a face of disbelief, his voice rising. And as you expected, anger rising as his comical face slowly slipped to stone cold when his eyes landed on the lingering fingers of the serpent teenager on your arm. “Who the hell is he?”
“Fuck off, Reggie,” you glared, bringing yourself to whisper to your current partner beside you, “Ignore him.” You tried your best to act a casual as possible, though the sudden racing of your heart that went with the way your ex-boyfriend stared at you in a mix of hardening confusion and indignation.
The other football players were left in a fit of widening eyes as Reggie, in impulsion, went and grabbed your arm in fury, “I’m taking you home.”
And it was a laughable scene, provided that you have been in witness in a circumstance like this before; on the contrary, you were always behind him before, supporting him like a good girlfriend. Until now.
Reggie showed the chaos within him through the bones between his knuckles—several scars made proof of that. Now, you were his enemy, the one that caused the fire beneath his eyes. The booths made a guarded ring.
“What the hell, man—“ The serpent boy scoffed before Reggie snapped and gripped and landed a good punch with no regret on the other boy’s face. That started a full-blown fight, which lead pandemonium where Moose, Chuck, and several others hurriedly tried to pull the Asian off the other boy. Reggie’s blows were pernicious, and over the yells of the football team trying to stop the fight, the only thing you could do was watch everything in horror.
“—fighting on public property, what on earth caused you to do that?!” And Mrs. Mantle let out a startled shriek and tried to shield her son as Mr. Mantle gave a tumultuous slap on Reggie’s already bruising face. You gripped your jacket, feeling the cotton and thinking of it as abrasive as hooves, guilt going off you in waves as the only thing you could do was watch the aftermath unfold in the Mantle estate, where you had been protectively ushered off to with your parents and Sheriff Keller due to Pop’s emergency dial.
“This is getting out of hand,” Reggie’s father continued, a harsher than stern look on his purple face. Yanking back his hand, his gaze shot to you, which you couldn’t bear to hold longer than a second. “This boy has been nothing but trouble this year—I swear, this was the last straw, Reginald. I need to ship him to board—“
“It was my fault,” you found your voice, hurried and not gentle at all—willing to cross out the guilt killing your tightening chest. Your parents’ tension-heavy faces whipped their heads to you, their protected daughter that could hardly do no wrong in this world. “I came there with Jackson—“
“No, I fought him, she had nothing to do with th—“ Reggie hastily claimed, harsh and scarily void of emotion. He was seemingly too callous from responding to his father—and you had realized that this could have been happening more so than none and that this boy could have grown up this way, and while your heart was pouring from hearing him protect you, you knew that it was your call to turn things around.
“No,” you squeaked, hearing yourself panic. “I guess I was being rebellious, I met up with Jackson, and – and- “ You eyed your father. “He was with me and Reggie saw me and Jackson did something and he got provoked,” you finished, lying. You looked at Reggie, and he gazed at you, turmoil and hurt swirling in his eyes.
That led to a tension-filled silence. You closed your eyes, and could hear the sounds of Reggie’s father’s footsteps going off to a direction. Somewhere that’s not here, of course.
“Sorry, that shouldn’t have happened,” he would tell you days later, smirk latched to his lips like a boy to a candy bar. He’d say it would no feeling, no emotion, as if he wasn’t someone that was in what happened and he was merely a person who’d heard of what happened.
The memory of his father slapping him because of you would haunt you forever, and your eyes would wander to his cheek not due to any romantic purpose, but the ache of wondering how much it hurt to protect you, a person he shouldn’t even be caring for anymore.
“I’m sorry,” you ignored his first statement, and spat out what you needed to say. The hallways were empty. “I was being petty. I wanted to—“ The words were dignified to be stated out in the open. “I wanted to forget about you.”
His silence mocked you. The 6’3 handsome and usually word-y jock—the boy you really, just really, really loved, gazed at you as if your turbulence, though with a slip of concern on his façade. You continued, lips burning with words you only imagined you would say in a dream, “You hurt me, Reggie. I hated you for making me spend a summer without you. So, yeah. I did something. I slept with that douchebag, that serpent, just to forget about you. So, fuck you.”
The response was instant. An utter storm shadowed over his face. “Fuck me? Fuck me? Are you fucking kidding me?” His fingers wrapped tightly around his coifed hair, eyes blazing with chasms of void and anger. “The only thing I ever did was goddamn protect you! If you hadn’t been so stupid, you wouldn’t be in this mess. I shouldn’t have protected you from the start if it was going to lead this way.”
“Protected me from the start?” You questioned, beckoned with hatred.
“Yes! I’ve always been protecting you. I love you, [y/n]. So much. The reason I ended things is because you were going to end up broadcasted on this shitty book and—“ Reggie sighed and you looked at him confusingly. He stepped forward, “Look, last year I was in hell. My dad caught me doing some stupid shit and he was going to blame it on you. I needed to protect you, it was instinct. I had to break up with you because I couldn’t bear the guilt that—“
This time, it was your turn to slap him. Reggie snapped his head back at you, shocked.
“You stupid jerk,” your body shook from relief and at the same time, numbness. “You couldn’t have at least told me about that? I literally cried for a week because I thought I wasn’t good enough for you, the great Reggie freaking Mantle.”
Reggie stared at what only could have been eons, before shaking his head and returning a soft gaze that was only for you. “I’m sorry.”
You could shake your head as he placed out his warm hand next to yours, swirling and wrapping it around yours in the gentlest way possible.
It was an epiphany, when you looked at him and you had finally seen a glimpse of an extent that he would do for you. The balance was off and you had thought of it in the wrong way.
He loved you more than he loved himself.
omg i’m so sorry. whenever i write i’d always get so carried away with excessive details and annoying character musings!!! please tell me what you think! feel free to reblog or like or message me! always open to hear what you guys think huehue. :)