A/N: SO sorry this took so long. I was procrastinating big time and also life got in my way. There’s only one part left after this and an epilogue, so I really hope you guys like it. Let me know what you think! ♥
Word Count: 2,184 (I know this is not a drab, and this is the longest part to date :O)
Warnings: - language.
Tags: (at the end)
*gif is not mine.
Bucky was sleeping peacefully beside you the next morning, after spending hours the night before trying to get him to fall asleep. His nerves were getting the best of him, and rightfully so. You’d spent most of the night coming up with a court summons for Peggy, so that you could finally find out whom Charlotte’s true father was. You pushed his hair off of his forehead and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. The love you had for him swelled in your chest and, in that moment, you vowed to find the truth for him, to give him inner peace. Even though this was his own personal struggle, it would bring peace to you and your relationship with him as well. Maybe, just maybe, it would also mend his and Steve’s lifelong friendship.
Jughead felt the cold air against his stomach as he stretched. It took him a moment to realize where he was - once he did, he looked at the empty space beside him.
He yawned, then sat up. Music was coming from downstairs. He scratched the back of his head and looked around for his beanie, swinging his legs off the bed. His beanie was nowhere to be seen. He groaned and padded out of the room, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
As he padded quietly down the stairs, he could he the music getting louder and louder.
What the hell was she listening to?
Jughead ran his fingers through his hair as he yawned again, his socked feet making no noise as he spotted Betty in the kitchen.
She was facing away from him, bunny slippers on her feet, blue cotton panties clinging to her, legs bare. Her hair was damp, leaving wet impressions on her white tank top. Jughead’s beanie was on her head.
She had a bowl under her arm and she was singing into a wooden spoon, batter dripping off the tip. There was coffee pouring slowly into the pot and bacon sizzling on the stove.
Betty swayed her hips along to the music. “-Just like animals…” She broke off to howl, tilting her head up towards the ceiling. “… baby, I’m preying on you tonight, hunt you down, eat you alive…” Betty continued, stirring the batter.
Jughead bit back a laugh, smiling to himself. He couldn’t help but notice her hair had soaked through the material of her tank top - it was obvious there wasn’t anything under her tank top, sending his mind racing.
She set the bowl on the counter and opened the cupboard above her and pulled out a bag of chocolate chips. She ripped open the bag and emptied half of it into the bowl.
The song changed to something Jughead recognized - one of his favorite songs, in fact.
“Bum-bum-bah-da-da,” Betty sang along.
“Start spreadin’ the news,” Jughead sang in a baritone voice. “I’m leavin’ today,” He continued.
Betty practically jumped out of her skin. “Jesus, shit, Jughead!”
He chuckled and waltzed into the room. “Sorry. You’re in a good mood for someone who wants to die.” He wiggled his eyebrows and walked past her, opening cupboard doors, looking for a coffee mug.
“I was going to bring you breakfast in bed,” Betty murmured, a smile playing on her lips. She reached past Jughead and grabbed two coffee mugs, her chest brushing his shoulder.
Jughead’s breath hitched as Betty grazed him. “Here,” She murmured, handing him a coffee mug.
Betty poured herself a mug of coffee, pouring milk and sugar into her cup before passing Jughead the coffee pot.
“You’re up pretty early.”
“I have trouble sleeping.” Betty murmured. “I can always fall asleep just fine, but I wake up a lot. I have bad dreams.”
“I sleep too much,” Jughead yawned. “Sleeping is the best part of my day.”
Betty smiled sadly at him as she poured the pancake batter into the skillet on the stove. She plated the bacon and took a bowl of fruit salad out of the fridge, telling Jughead to have a seat in the other room.
She set a plate with four pancakes in front of him a few minutes later and set her own plate on the table. Frank Sinatra was still playing loudly in the kitchen.
Jughead spooned fruit salad onto his plate with some bacon strips and drizzled syrup onto his pancake stack.
Betty watched him with a smile on her face as he cut into his pancakes with the side of his fork and shoved them in his mouth.
“What?” He said, covering his mouth as he chewed. “It’s really good.”
Betty smiled again. “I’m glad. I love cooking.”
“No one’s ever made me breakfast before,”Jughead murmured once he swallowed.
Betty took a sip of her coffee. “What?”
Jughead shrugged. “I mean, my mom poured cereal in a bowl for me or tossed me a banana when I was a kid, and I’ve ordered pancakes at Pop’s but nobody has ever made me a hot, delicious breakfast like this.” He shoved another bite in his mouth and washed it down with a swig of coffee.
“Oh…” Betty murmured. “Well, I’m glad you like it. Do you want more coffee?”
Jughead nodded. “I can get it though, finish your pancakes.” He pushed his chair back. “You want more? Milk and sugar, right?”
Betty nodded, cutting into her pancake and shoving it into her mouth. She finished as Jughead returned with their coffees.
“I’m going to want my hat back, by the way,” Jughead smirked.
Betty’s cheeks flushed with heat. “Oh my god,” She reached up, plucking the beanie off her head and dragging it down. “I forgot I was wearing it.” She placed it on the table between them. “I’m sorry.”
Jughead shook his head slowly. “It’s okay.” He smiled. “It looked good on you.”
Jughead padded into Betty’s room dressed in his clothes from yesterday. His hair was still wet, so his beanie was tucked under his elbow.
“Do you have a computer I could use?” He mumbled quietly.
Betty looked up from her journal. “Yeah, you can use my laptop.” She jutted her chin toward her desk. “Why, what’s up?”
“I just need to check on something,” Jughead murmured. He opened the laptop on her desk and clicked on the power button. “What’s your password?”
“Caramelkitten1, capital C.”
Jughead nodded, smiling as he typed in the password, then turned back to Betty. She was reading a Jodi Picoult book.
“Is it okay if I put music on? Will that disturb you?”
Betty smiled and shook her head. “No, go ahead.”
Jughead powered up YouTube and turned on a Manchester Orchestra song before he opened his email.
“I love this song,” Betty murmured.
“You do?” Jughead asked, his eyebrows knitting together. “What about that pop crap you were listening to in the kitchen?”
Betty shrugged. “I like everything. I have more songs of theirs in my iTunes library.” She gave him a small half smile.
Jughead nodded. He clicked through his emails before opening the one he was looking for.
What was with that voicemail you left me? I tried to call you back but I guess Dad didn’t pay the bill again.
School’s going OK. I hate my teacher this year but I’m taking the creative writing class like you suggested. I love it.
I wanted to tell you something a while ago, but I never worked up the courage to tell you on the phone. Writing it is easier, so here goes: Billy hit me. I showed Mom the bruise, and she kicked him out right away, but she didn’t want me to tell anyone. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. I’m OK, but I thought you should know.
Email me soon, Jug, I love you.
Jughead didn’t realize tears were rolling down his face until Betty brushed one off his cheek.
“Are you okay?” She asked sadly. Her thumb brushed his jaw until his eyes focused on her. “Jughead?”
He nodded and bit his lip. “Can I be alone, please?” He murmured.
Betty nodded and stood up, faltering towards her door. “Hey, Jughead? You can talk to me if you need to.” She said quietly.
“Thanks,” He bit out.
She left him in the room as she padded down the hallway and sat on the top step of the staircase.
For a moment, it was silent. She couldn’t hear the typing of keys or music playing or even a creak in the floorboards. Then, suddenly, she heard Jughead scream. It was muffled, like he was screaming into a pillow, but it sent shivers down her spine.
Her eyes pricked, tears pooling.
“Fuck!” She heard Jughead scream from her bedroom.
Betty stood back up and paced back to her bedroom. Jughead was sitting on her bedroom floor, his knees tucked up to his chest. Sobs were wracking his body.
“Jughead?” Betty murmured quietly, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Please talk to me.”
Jughead didn’t say anything, but his sobs seemed to subside. She sat down next to him and rubbed his back.
He looked up at her, his big blue eyes filled with tears. “I was supposed to protect her,” He choked out.
“My little sister,” He murmured. “I-I’m supposed to protect her, and I wasn’t there and I’m a fucking failure just like they said.” A fresh wave of tears rolled down his cheeks.
Jughead motioned toward Betty’s laptop, the page still open. She got up and quickly read through it. She turned, her face serious, and sat down next to Jughead once more.
“You didn’t know, Jughead. You can’t protect someone from something you don’t know is happening.”
Jughead shook his head. “She’s the only reason I’m still here and I let her down.”
“Shh,” Betty murmured. She placed her hand against his cheek and rubbed her thumb against his tears. “It’s not your fault.”
Jughead clutched Betty’s arm, his chin wavering. He collapsed against Betty’s body, curling himself into her tiny lap.
She could feel warm tears against her thighs, his body shaking with the immensity of his sadness. She leaned forward, wrapping her body as best she could around him, trying to hold him together.
“I’m sorry, Jughead, it’ll be okay,” She murmured. She found his hand and gathered it in her own. “It’ll be okay,” She repeated.
They stayed on the floor until Jughead’s tears subsided. Eventually, his breathing evened out and his chest started to rise and fall rhythmically.