“Fine! Go then, you think I’m not used to everyone leaving? I thought you were smarter than that Betty” Jughead was being excruciatingly harsh and he knew that, but right now, in this moment he couldn’t find it in himself to care
Betty physically shivered at his clipped tone, her eyes dripping thick rain drop shaped tears
“I don’t want to leave you Jughead, don’t you get that? Can’t you see I have no choice?” She was practically whimpering, begging him to tell her to stay, begging him to tell her she mattered to him.
But he didn’t
He just snorted “ listen Betty, I’m used to having no one, it’s nothing new. So don’t act like you have no choice, I’ll just go back to having no one, it makes no difference to me.” He shrugged carelessly.
“You had me!” She shouted now, startling Jughead and he took a step back at the volume of her voice , she shook her head and looked into his eyes, her red rimmed ones shining with unshed tears. “You had me” she said in something close to a whisper “you had me, and I would have done anything for you, because I love you, because I was happy to be your girlfriend, but I can’t do this anymore. I would give up anything to change it, but I can’t. Don’t you need me Jughead? Don’t you need me like I need you.” She whispered moving closer to him
He wanted to say Yes. Yes of course I need you, you’re everything to me, you can’t leave me, stay here, stay with me. But instead he ripped his eyes from hers and looked away.
“I don’t need anyone.” He vaguely heard her sob, when he glanced up she had a hand to her mouth and was grabbing her back pack from the ground
He watched her walk away, shoulders slumped and ponytail swinging, looking through the window at pops he saw Veronica grab the beautiful blonde and wrap her in her arms.
Turning around quickly he made his way home, he was about half way there when he noticed the dampness of his cheeks. “Fuck” he yelled slamming his hand into the hard metal trash can. Why couldn’t he tell her? Why couldn’t he just tell her to stay, he wanted too, it was all he wanted but he couldn’t. Images of his mother walking out the front door, hand clutched around his little sisters as he screamed, begged her to stay, don’t go! You can’t leave me!
His mother was the last woman he ever told he loved, he vowed that was it, no one was gonna have control of him like that, make him hurt that bad.
Slamming into the trailer he and his dad shared, he was surprised to find Archie lounging on his couch, balancing a basketball in his hands. “Veronica texted me, I figured you could use a friend, wanna play one on one?” Jughead smiled weakly, no matter what went down between the two, they were always there for each other, they were brothers, that would never change.
She didn’t even want to go to school, she practically begged her mother to let her take a personal day, that didn’t go over well
“Elizabeth, Cooper woman do not let men define us, and we definitely do not let them get in the way of our education. You will go to school with your head held high, besides I promised Marcy James you would tutor that brat of hers during your free period.” She threw the light blue dress at her and headed out of her bedroom.
Fixing her ponytail, and zipping her dress she looked in the mirror
Too perfect, she was too perfect and that’s why Jughead didn’t want her, why couldn’t she just be like the other girls, with their messy buns and dirty sweatpants? She ran a hand under the elastic in her hair and let a few pieces fall out and into her face. Staring at her reflection, her palms twitched and her chest felt tight, growling she re did her right pony tail pushing all the strands back into place. She couldn’t do it.
Veronica was by her door as soon as she went outside,
“Where’s Smithers?” Betty said teasingly
Veronica just rolled her eyes “walking is good for you, I have to get my cardio in somehow.“she linked her arm with Betty’s and started towards school. Halfway to school Kevin joined the group. As the trio made it to the front doors, Betty took a deep breathe closing her eyes
"Give him a chance Betty, he may surprise you.” She turned to Veronica who just squeezed her hand before walking in. Kevin pressed a gentle kiss to her cheek, “I’m with you girl.”
School went by so slow she thought she was in a movie, she hadn’t seen her boyfriend.. or ex boyfriend all day. Instead of the relief she thought she would feel she actually felt more anxious, was he okay? Did he come to school? Did he get home okay last night? Her train of thought was quickly broken by the sight of Jughead looking a mess.
His Beanie was half off his head and his flannel was buttoned wrong, his eyes were bloodshot and she noticed the bright red marks on his knuckles. He caught her eyes almost instantly. The way he looked at her was so intense she had to look away, she turned on her heels and practically sprinted down the hallway. Tears taking control of her completely. No, she wouldn’t cry in front of him, not again.
He watched her run away, slamming his head into the locker, idiot he was an idiot. An idiot with too much baggage, she was better off without him.
“You okay buddy?” He recognized his red headed friends voice but kept his head against the locker. He felt Archie lean against the locker next to his. “She’s not your mom Jughead.” Jughead snapped up now standing in front of him glaring at him. “What did you say to me?”
Archie rolled his eyes
“I’m not afraid of you jug, You may not think so but I know you better than you know yourself. She loves you, she doesn’t wanna be without you, but she’s also a human being and she’s been hurt, unfortunately I’m the one who did it, that day I told her I didn’t love her, she said "I’ll never put all of my love into someone who doesn’t love me back again.” That’s why she left, she’s protecting herself.“
Jughead stared at him, holy shit. He was treating Betty the way Archie had, he didn’t even realize it, what a fucking idiot.
"I love her, I love her more than anything. I can’t..I’m gonna.” Shaking his head Jughead threw his backpack at Archie “I’ll see you later arch.. oh and .. thanks.”
Archie just watched him sprint off, laughing he swung Jugheads backpack on his other shoulder.
He found her about halfway home from school , Veronica chatting her ear off while Kevin texted someone, she still looked so broken he wanted to kick himself.
“Betty!” He called out, all three friends turned around and Veronica immediately stood in front of Betty
“Oh no way! You better take ten steps back James dean wannabe, Betty is not in the mood for anymore games.”
Kevin had his hands around Betty’s shoulder, whispering in her ear.
“I’m not playing games, Betty please, let me talk to you, green eyes I..” she just shook her head, tears springing to her eyes at the nickname.
“Leave me alone Jughead” she turned around.
“I can’t!” He called, pushing past Veronica and Kevin and standing in front of her. Betty refused to meet his eyes.
“Please” she whispered “please just leave me alone” she choked out.
“I can’t do that Betty” Jughead said back a fierce determination she had never heard caused her to look up in anger
“Why?! Why not?!”
“Because I love you!”
The distinct gasps of Veronica and Kevin went unaknowledged as Betty stared up at him
Jughead smiled, taking her cheek in his hand
“I love you Betty Cooper, I love you so much that it hurts. You found me when I lost myself, when everything was falling apart, you were there, I would have to be an idiot not to be in love with you. You were right bets, I do need you. So much.” With that he dropped his mouth to hers, taking in the familiar feeling of his home, his everything. She was everything.
She pulled away, tears falling and the brightest smile he had seen in his life. She was beautiful, he couldn’t understand how he got to love her. But he did. And he was never giving that up.
“I love you Jughead, you’ve got me, for as long as you want me.” He dropped his forehead to hers
“Forever.” He whispered against her lips.