She was drowning, lungs filled with deep murky black water and there was nothing to grab, nothing to pull her back up. Betty held on to whatever sanity lingered on the surface, anything that made her feel normal, made her feel.. okay. That’s all she had, that’s all she could rely on.
Betty Cooper, patient, beautiful, reliable, that girl would do anything for anyone, Betty Cooper was perfect.
But was she?
Was the silky haired blonde with the sparkling meadow green eyes really all she was cracked up to be? Why couldn’t anyone see? No one wanted to know who she was, they had her pegged. The straight A student in the cardigan, pink lace and charity functions.
“I’m not fine.” She whispered desperately, hands fisting the bark on the side of some old oak tree in Riverdale park “I’m not fine.” She cried out, to the empty grass.
Slowly she slid to the floor, her back scraping against the rough wood, perfectly pressed cotton dress crinkling as thick raindrop shaped tears fell onto the skirt of the light pink material.
“be fine Betty Cooper” she sobbed, gasping for air “you have to be fine. You can’t do this. This is not allowed.” Her breath was coming out in short hiccups, a constant ringing playing through her ears as she punched the side of her head, fist closed. “SHUTUP SHUTUP SHUTUP” she screamed.
Suddenly there was movement, she caught it right by her left side, a familiar shape, cigarettes and cologne filling her senses as it reached out to touch her, to hold her.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Please.. Betty please.”
The voice was desperate, her skirt now covered with someone else’s tears, hot and warm as they seeped through the thin fabric.
“It doesn’t mean anything. You mean everything, listen to me please! Please stop, you’re killing me!”
Strong calloused hands gripped her own, prying her fingernails from her palms, just now feeling the scarlet drops of blood pouring from the crescent shaped scars.
“She’s nothing to me, you can’t believe her. The things I’ve done, come on Betts, you know me. I’m not like that, I’m not like him.” Jughead spit the word out, contempt lining his tone as he cupped her cheeks with his hands
“This isn’t forever, just until I can figure things out. I’m no Serpent, I’m just.. god I don’t know what I’m doing. Please talk to me.. please just say something.. anything..” his voice sounded so foreign, so different from the boy she had just seen at the trailer park, his arm around a purple haired girl and his free hand clutching a satchel of drugs. The boy in front of her was pleading, red rimmed eyes and messy hair, his grip on the blonde was the only thing confirming that this was indeed Jughead.
“I have nothing to say.” Betty finally whispered through the most hoarse voice, her eyes downcast and resigned.
“No.” Jughead whispered, his eyes filled with fear “no, you do. You always do, please, say something, tell me I’m an idiot, tell me how disappointed you are, please anything… you can’t..” his voice cracked, as tears continued to run down both of the teens faces.
“She told me..” Betty started, glancing away from Jughead, her eyes staring at the street light a few feet away “Toni, I mean. All about how you’re partners in crime. I saw it, today when you were..making that…drug deal.it’s okay Jughead, you have to let me go. I’ll be fine. Let me go.”
“What?! No. no Toni, she’s my friend, she’s just showing me the ropes, she’s been in the serpents. She’s trying to help me. It’s not like that.” The shaky boy in front of her ran a trembling hand through his hair.
“It’s okay. Move on, be happy. Find your new home. I’m happy for you. Really” placing her freshly scarred hands on the ground, Betty pushed herself up on wobbly knees, Jughead was quick to follow, nearly caging her in, his entire face was contorted and the starlight showcased the tear tracks on his cheeks.
“I can’t move on. I love you. I love you more than anything in this world, you know that, do you still love me? Are you still in love with me?” His face was inches away from hers, shaky breaths mingling.
Betty squeezed her eyes shut
“I’ll always love you.” She whispered.
Then his lips were on hers, salt water and strawberry lip gloss. He held her so tight, she knew she would bruise tomorrow, he was panting into the kiss, trying to take as much of her as he could, show her that he was all hers, he wasn’t leaving and he wasn’t going to let her go anywhere.
Jughead pulled away slowly, dropping his forehead to hers and rubbing her nose with his own
“I know that this is selfish, but I cannot live without you. I need you to love me. I love you, things are going to change, I’m not risking this, nothing in the world is worth losing you. Please Betty just hang on, just a little longer. I’ll love you so hard, I need you to hold on.”
Betty let her back hit the oak tree taking Jughead with her she stared into the watery blue eyes and let her own droop close
“Okay. I’m here. I’ll hold on”