Thank you so, so much to everyone who commented, reblogged and liked the previous chapters.
Also I have a feeling this is going to turn into a longer multi-chapter fic than I was originally intending so sorry to those readers who thought it was going to be a short story. I don’t want to let these guys go yet.
The doorbell rang and Betty looked nervously towards Veronica and her mum, Alice. They were in the sitting room, Betty had on the pastel dress, her hair falling to her shoulders in blonde waves, framing her face. Veronica’s smile read encouragement and Alice nodded towards the cookies that were sitting on the table. Betty knew there was an alternative motive to Alice baking the cookies. She wanted him to come in. Betty groaned inwardly at the thought of him being grilled by both Veronica and her mother. It would almost guarantee that he would be running for the hills before they had even had their first date.
She moved towards the door, throwing them both a look of warning to stay where they were, for all the good that it would do her. She opened the door to find him standing there, dressed in a dress shirt and tie, a little over the top for Pop’s perhaps, but it had her rethinking that dark blue dress Veronica had suggested after all. He looked handsome, different to how he had at the park, more nervous and hesitant as if his confidence had waned since their first meeting. He gave her a shy smile.
“You look nice,” he said appreciatively and Betty felt the butterflies in her stomach go into overdrive at his words. “Very nice,” he added lowering his tone slightly.
She bit her bottom lip nervously when he leaned forward to whisper in her ear.
“My sister helped. Trust me I am not usually this fashionable.” She laughed at his words and she swore she saw a blush cross his cheeks. “Also you look very nice tonight.” Then it was her turn to blush.
“Thank you and remind me to thank your sister.” She whispered back to him.
“Jackson helped too.”
“Well I’ll thank them both.”
“Would you like to come in?” Betty jumped slightly at the voice to the side of her, Alice was standing beside her with the plate of cookies in her hand. She was too wrapped up in her own special moment to notice. Betty looked into Jughead’s eyes pleading with him to say no as if she had some kind of telekinesis.
“Sure.” He stepped through the doorway and Betty looked up to the sky for some kind of help before shutting the door. Veronica was smirking already, and Alice was lifting the plate full of chocolate chip cookies to Jughead urging him to take one.
“We don’t want to spoil our dinner mum.” Betty said sharply.
“Nonsense Betty, would you like a coffee, Jughead?” Betty noticed her mother struggling with the name as if it sounded foreign on her tongue. Betty had already asked her mum not to be weird about the name.
“Yes, please.” She was glad he had manners, and Alice seemed to as what Betty swore was a genuine smile cross her face.
Alice clasped her hands in delight and made her way to the kitchen where Betty knew she already had a fresh pot brewed and ready to go. Jughead took a seat in the armchair near where Veronica was perched on the couch and she moved forward like a spider who had just caught a fly in her web. Jughead slunk back in the armchair before looking nervously from Betty to Veronica and back to Betty as a realisation dawned on him that he had just walked into an interrogation.
“So Jughead, what do you do?” Veronica asked, as Jughead bit into his cookie. Quickly chewing the mouthful and swallowing.
“I write for an online news journal,” he replied.
“And is that profitable?” She pressed further, leaning in from her position.
“It pays the bills.”
“And you live with your sister?” He swore it was like she never even blinked, her dark eyes piercing into his own, and he could feel a sweat developing on his brow.
“I do, just for now, still settling in here.” The embarrassment of having to live with your sister while you sorted your life out still weighed heavily on him, no matter how many times she told him it was no bother.
“So you’re not going to just up and leave.” Veronica’s eyes pierced through him, her stare intensifying as she waited for his answer.
“Okay,” Betty interrupted, pulling Jughead up from his chair. “20 questions is over for tonight, we need to go.” She was quickly ushering him towards the front door. Passing by a stunned Alice who was returning from the kitchen with the coffee and cups. Betty was impressed she had brought out the fancy dinnerware.
“Where are you going? He hasn’t even had his coffee.” Alice started to follow them to the door as Betty quickened her pace, practically dragging her date behind her.
“Next time mum.” Betty pushed Jughead out of the door as he managed a quick wave with the hand that was not currently secured around one of the most delicious cookies he had ever had in his life. Betty took a deep breath as she leant her back up against the front door shut behind her.
“Your friend Veronica, is a little intense.” Understatement of the year.
“Yeah, she just cares really, but sometimes it’s a little much.”
“But these cookies,” he held up the half eaten cookie in his hand a smile spreading across his face. “Are amazing.”
“I’ll sneak you some out when we get back, but let’s get going before you get dragged back in there.” Betty could already see her mum and Veronica peeking through the curtains the two of them as subtle as a sledgehammer.
“Agreed.” He nodded eagerly, Betty waving at the curtains that were quickly closed at being seen.
They had made small talk in his car on the way over to Pop’s, he told her a little more about his work and Betty mainly gushed over Juliet, which inevitably led to Jughead gushing about Jackson. They felt comfortable already around each other which put Betty at ease, but there was that nagging question in the back of her mind. What about Jackson’s mum? And she wondered if he had the same questions about Juliet’s father.
He opened the car door for her and the diner door and Betty checked off the mental checklist in her mind of qualities that she was looking for in a partner, gentleman, check. She automatically went to the booth where her and Juliet would usually sit, she took a seat and was only slightly disappointed when he took the one opposite her instead of sharing the same side of the booth. She shrugged it off reasoning that it would be better for conversation if they could face each other.
“So what’s good here?” He grabbed the menu from the table and started to take a quick look through, his stomach already grumbling at the prospect of food.
“Well, like I said the milkshakes are one of a kind. They will ruin you permanently for all other milkshakes and if you like burgers-”
“Like burgers?” He held a hand to his chest in mock insult. “Betty, I adore burgers, I would go so far as to say I love burgers. In fact one time Louise and I -” he paused as the memory hit him full force, their late night road trip to get burgers from a place outside of New York because he had read about some place in a random blog, that had a burger challenge and she could never say no to him when it concerned his stomach.
Betty reached her hand out across the booth, capturing his which was still holding the menu, and stroking it lightly. “Sorry I,” he stumbled over his words. Not sure what he was apologising for, or if he even needed to.
“It’s okay.” Her voice was gentle and soothing. “Do you want to talk about it?” Betty didn’t want to pry. She didn’t want to push too hard too fast, putting her foot in her mouth as she so often did. She could see the sadness in his eyes and knew then that she was the ex, Jackson’s mum. Betty knew all too well the pain when you almost forgot that the other person wasn’t still around. That they were no longer a permanent fixture of your life and what were suppose to be happy memories only caused pain. “Let’s order some burgers and milkshakes, we can’t go wrong.” She smiled back at him and he nodded silently.
Betty raised her hand to motion for the waitress, as Jughead continued to let her hand rest over his, taking refuge in the human contact and the sense of safety and belonging that it provided.
He could hear Betty ordering in the background, and the menu being pulled away from him as he let it go. He urged himself to return to the present, to pull himself back from the dark spiral that he had so often let himself fall into thinking about what could have been.
“My ex, Richie, left me over a year ago.” Betty stated, and Jughead looked up to meet her eyes at the confession. “Juliet was 6 months, when he left. There was no note, no phone call, it was like he disappeared one night and just never came back.” He continued to stare at her, listening intently as she twisted up her napkin in her hands on the table. “I always thought he would just come back. One day I would come home and there he would be waiting for me, would tell me how sorry he was and we would be a happy family. But that never happened.”
The waitress placed their milkshakes on the table and Betty gratefully took hers, stirring the liquid and pushing the cream down under the surface. “Eventually I hired a private investigator, almost every last penny went into trying to find him. I wasn’t sure I even wanted him back by that point but I felt he owed it to Juliet, to be a part of her life, just -” she gave a loud sniff and Jughead noted that she had started to cry, a tear splashing onto the table between them. “I wanted him to take some responsibility. I wanted him to love her as much as I did. And -” her fingers tightly gripped the napkin pressing the paper into her palm, hard. “They couldn’t find him, last credit card transaction was in Mexico and then the trail went cold.”
She leant over to take a sip of her milkshake, closing her eyes as she let the sweetness roll over her tongue, as she lost herself in the sensation before pulling herself back together. She opened them again to see him watching her, his expression something she couldn’t quite make out. “Anyway, I moved back in with mum, couldn’t afford the house anymore and it’s been the three of us ever since.” She felt relief wash over her as if a weight had been lifted just by telling her story. A nervous laugh erupted from her lips. “Probably not exactly first date conversation but -”
“I’m sorry.” His voice was soft and gentle.
“Yeah, that’s what everyone says.” She leant forward, “but secretly I feel like they are thinking how did she not see it coming. How could she not know he was unhappy.”
“We like to think the people we love, love us back. That the way we treat others is the way that they are going to treat us. And you’re a good person, Betty. The world seems to take some sick kind of pleasure in screwing over those who are good and kind.”
“Here come our burgers.” Flashing that brilliant smile at him again and he found himself smiling back at her in response on reflex.
Yesterday we traveled from Vogelkreisberg to Saurland to a new hotel for our further vacation. It all seemed nice and fun! Nice hotel and people! Human was very very tired, so was even Human’s mom. Now there was another SD with his handler at the hotel, but this handler kept implying that I can not be a service dog because of my breed. Over and over.
She would not even let me pass at the lunch.
So we told the hotel personnel about our problems, and they transferred us to another hotel because they could not make this woman leave, she came there every so often and well oh well.
They did what they could and escorted us to another village around 20 minutes drive away, we have been greeted very nicely! I am allowed into the restaurant without problems and not SD-police-know-it-all who wants to know about all my Human’s disabilities and calling me a fake.
So, we went on a nice little walk, got food and are now almost ready to sleep! Human seems a lot happier now.
This is hotel number 3 and hopefully we can finally have some relaxed days now!