A/n: I had to take my turn writing a resolution to all the drama of this week’s episode! I can’t just leave Bughead alone
Betty stared at the ceiling. Had that water stain always been there?
“Who cares,” she mumbled out loud to no one in particular.
Her whole body ached. She felt like everything inside of her had been hollowed out, but somehow her chest was still heavy. Her faced was streaked with the pattern of tears from the night before, mascara smudged at the corners of her eyes. She was exhausted, but rest simply wouldn’t come.
He was gone.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. He was supposed to be here. With her. But she had ruined everything.
She kept replaying that moment over and over, she couldn’t erase the image of his pained eyes from her mind. The way he had gone so cold, backing away from her touch when she reached out. The distance that had grown in his eyes as he turned to leave. It was all too much.
Oh, how she longed to sleep.
Sleep would take it all away. Sleep would pass the time. Sleep would stop her from staring at that ridiculous water stain.
“To think I was gonna pass on moving to Toledo with my family for you.”
He had said it with such venom, each syllable a lash across her heart. The words echoed in her mind, reverberating through her heart.
Toledo. That’s where he was going. And there was nothing she could do to stop him.
Suddenly, there was a knocking at her door. Betty sighed, pulling her pillow over her face, ignoring her visitor. The door swung open, and Betty registered the sound of heels clicking across her hardwood floor.
“Go away.” Betty growled into the pillow.
“Sorry B, I simply can’t do that.”
Betty rolled over to see Veronica standing at the edge of her bed, still wearing her dress from the night before, a small smile on her face. She searched Betty’s face, seemingly trying to gauge just how angry her friend was.
“What are you doing here Veronica?” Betty narrowed her eyes, making sure that Veronica knew she was yet to be forgiven.
“I’m here to fix things.” Veronica took a tentative step forward before sitting down on the edge of the bed.
“Haven’t you done enough?” Betty bolted upright in her anger, Veronica flinching at her tone.
“I know Bets. I’m so, so sorry.” She leaned forward, reaching out and placing her hand on Betty’s.
Betty pulled away, feeling a rush of emotions as she remembered the way Jughead had pulled away from her just hours before.
“Sorry won’t bring him back.” She whispered, her voice barely perceptible as she fought back the sob that was threatening to escape her throat. Tears began to pool in her eyes once more. “He’s gone V. I searched everywhere. I called him a dozen times. He’s gone.”
“He’s not gone Betty.”
Betty’s head jerked upward, making sudden eye contact. “What do you mean?”
“We found Jughead, Bets. He’s at the sheriff’s station. He’s trying to see his dad…”
Veronica was still talking, but Betty was no longer listening. Instead, she bolted out of bed and put on the first pair of shoes she could find. She grabbed her purse and ran out the door, leaving Veronica without another thought.
She had to see him.
Jughead was arguing with the detective at the front desk.
“He’s my father, you have to let me see him!” He screamed, his hands balled up into fists, his neck flushing with anger. He was no longer wearing his beanie, but he didn’t seem to notice. Like so many things that night, it had been lost along the way.
Betty stood there, unable to formulate words. There he was, a mere five feet from her, but she couldn’t bring herself to ask for his attention. Was this a mistake? Should she have come? He had made himself very clear, he didn’t want her around. Her feet were cemented to the floor, her mouth full of lead. Her eyes began to water just looking at him, a mere five feet away and yet somehow feeling miles apart.
Jughead slammed his palm on the counter in frustration, the detective rejecting his attempts to gain access. In a fit of rage he spun around, intending to sit, but he froze when he saw her.
Beneath his gaze, she quickly became aware of how crazy she must look. Her blonde hair was a mess, the pin that had held it back having been tossed aside. Her beautiful blue dress had wrinkled, the hem stained from grass and dirt. Beneath the hem, bright green tennis shoes could be seen. Her eyes were tired, bloodshot, and puffy, and her makeup had faded.
Before she could finish her thought, Jughead rushed forward, wrapping his arms around her. A sob escaped Betty’s throat, and she grabbed hold of his body like her life depended on it. Which, in that moment, she was sure it did.
“I’m so sorry Jughead. I’m so, so sorry.” She breathed into his shoulder, her whole body melting in his embrace.
Jughead pulled away, making a point to look her in the eye, “I want to make it very clear, I don’t forgive you.” Betty flinched at his words, confused. “I don’t, I can’t, not yet. But right now that doesn’t matter. Right now, I just need you here. Because I can’t go through this alone. My dad, he-” Jughead choked on his words, and then it was Betty’s turn initiate an embrace.
“Let’s just press pause okay?” Betty said softly, running her fingers through his hair before bringing her hands to rest on the back of his neck. “We’re gonna get through this.”
Jughead nodded wordlessly, clutching onto her with a palpable desperation.
After a moment they sat down, Jughead leaning over and resting his head on her lap. Betty stroked his hair and he closed his eyes, finally allowing the exhaustion of the night to take hold.
Things were still broken. There was still a lot of work to do. But for now, none of that mattered. For now, all that mattered was being there. And that’s exactly what Betty intended to do.