Number 44 with Jughead and reader!
“FOOTBALL GAME? IS that the one where they hit the big, orange ball with the bat?” Your boyfriend is a mass of sharp angles and jutting bones atop your floral-patterned bedding. From the outsider’s vantage, one would say he emanates an air of discomfort—beanie still crowning his head, ragged leather jacket blanketing his shoulders, even his feet remain tucked inside his worn boots—but, to your knowledge, this is his highest state of relaxation. Iron rods have materialized from a decade and a half of misery, guarding his gelid heart, and shielding him from curious outsiders. He says there’s something special about you; you think that’s how you managed to slip through the gates.
“You’re cute.” The reflection of a boy in your vanity mirror winks. Involuntarily do your lips ascend into a pillowy crescent. “But seriously, it’s not my scene.” And then aforementioned lips descend.
Steely optics seek out his tangible form, goading you into pivoting on the balls of your feet. “What does that mean?”
His brows graze his hairline in a terse, first meeting. “It’s not my scene? It’s not my thing? I don’t do school events?” The questionable lilt that punctuates every last statement plucks on your frangible nerves. Of course Jughead doesn’t like school events, one glimpse of him is all the confirmation necessary, but he does like you, and you like school events—a message you attempt to convey with your facial ticks.
He isn’t comprehending.
“O-kay? And I don’t do Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, but do I not sit with you at Pop’s every night, going through evidence I don’t give a damn about to help you write your novel?” Baby pink nails cut into a curling palm, and—
—Oh, he’s getting it now.
Jughead tucks pallid digits underneath his cap, massaging the skin usually hidden underneath. “That’s different, Y/N.”
“How so?” you persist.
“Uh, I dunno, ‘cause my shit actually has a purpose?”
It’s not raining, but the cold seeps into your uniform and laces through your bones.
“As opposed to cheerleading, right? That’s what you’re trying to say? The River Vixens’ only purpose is to raise tents in pants?”
“Well, I wouldn’t call that a purpose since it’s a considerably easy feat,” he murmurs through clenched teeth and stiffened jaw. Your spine straightens—an aftershock of, well, shock. You’d find it comedic how his gaze enlarges, his sardonic bite and exactly who was being subjected to it dawning on his cognition, if anger wasn’t coiling around the mass of your stomach. Jughead displays both palms in a bid of surrender. “That came out wrong.”
“There’s a right way for something like that to come out?”
Now, you lift a hand. Your boyfriend’s focal point snags on the half-moon indents that desecrate your palm. “No. No.” The wear and tear of six months spent with a boy who isn’t as immersed in your interests as you his finally laps over you. He can’t attend one game, not one for you. “I’m good at cheer. I’m really good.”
The raven-locked boy lopes long legs over the edge of the bed, sitting from his previous lackadaisical position. “I know that.”
“How could you? From mandatory pep rallies? You bring your laptop to those, Jughead.”
He doesn’t disregard this fact, opting to offer a soft “I stop typing when you perform.” He thinks it’s a compromise; you think it’s a cop out.
You swing (literally, swing) into action and your bedroom’s threshold is the end-goal. Jughead tosses himself off the mattress, thrusting himself in front of your mobile form and nearly skittering into the doorframe. Dexterous digits curl around your shoulders, though you think the gesture’s done more for his balance than to immobilize you.
“I’m shit with words,” he begins.
“No, you’re great with words.” Thin lips quirk, and you wish he wasn’t so damn cute. “You’re just a shit boyfriend.” You utilize the loosening of his grip to your advantage, shrugging his hands and his touch and him away from you. “Look, I don’t wanna look like a fool anymore than you do. So here’s your chance, Jug, tell me. Tell me you’re not interested in me anymore. Tell me the reason why I’m giving you my all and you’re giving me half is because you’re sick of me. Tell me, Jughead. Be honest with yourself, be honest with me!”
A beat of silence.
And then two.
“Not interested in you anymore?” he half-echoes, half-sputters. Incredulity paints his sharp features. From knitted brows above cerulean irises down to slightly agape pink pout, Jughead’s disbelief is like a grass stain on white shorts. Unbelievably stubborn and not going anywhere. “Y/N, I am so interested in you it’s sickening. Literally. You make my stomach hurt.” (You hate that a chuckle rumbles from your chest. Jughead grins.) “Honestly, I thought you were into the whole Jason Blossom mystery thing. You love Criminal Minds.”
“It’s not scary when it’s on TV.”
He visibly softens at this, back winding into its comfortable slouch. “No, it’s not. And I’m sorry I never asked you how you felt.”
“So you’re not sick of me?”
Your gaze follows the swing of his head. “I am the farthest thing from sick of you. You make me sick” —Jughead catches your hand before it could make playful contact with his shoulder “—but I’m not sick of you, no.” He swipes his thumb across the skin pulled taunt against your knuckles. “If anything, I’m a little in love with you.”
This confession, subtle but heavy, sinks its claws into your disposition, altering your expression sans consent. You aren’t aware you’re wearing your perturbation as well as you are your uniform until Jughead says:
“Gee, baby, I hope that’s your ‘I love you, too’ face.”
So he did say the l-word.
“No. No, of course, I just–I never thought you would say it first. Is that–? That’s the first time you’ve said I love you.”
“Yeah, and it doesn’t mean shit unless I start showing you. So from now on whatever you’re into, I’m into. You like cheer, I like cheer. You like watching bad Netflix movies at 2 in the morning, so do I. You like Reggie Mantle, I–well, I don’t have to like everything you like, do I?” The tip of his nose crinkles in jocular distaste. Your own laugh of euphoria rings in your ears.
“Juggie, you mushball.”