I'll Be A Better Man Today - Reggie Mantle x Reader
Summary: Reader breaks up with Reggie after he refuses to stop harassing Jughead. Every attempt to get her back fails, so he comes up with a plan to knock her off her feet. Requested: Yes Warnings: None, apologies for any grammar/spelling mistakes. A/N: I am doing this in two parts, as when I started writing it, it become longer than I had planned it. Hope you enjoy!
Jughead didn’t miss the way you determinedly ignored your boyfriend of almost nine months as you passed him in the hallway, at half eight Monday morning.
Greeting your best friend, he also noticed you didn’t make eye contact with him. He watched you fumbling with the combination lock, eyes narrowed. Across the hall, Reggie Mantle, the aforementioned boyfriend, approached slowly. Jughead steeled himself for the usual barrage of insults - but they never came.
‘Hey, (Y/N)?’ He called your name softly, face downcast and eyes sad. You ignored him. Jughead frowned, confusion on his face. Reggie tried again to get your attention.
’(Y/N), can we talk, please?’ His voice weighed with sorrow, even Jughead almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
‘I have to get to class,’ you finally spoke, slamming the locker shut with a loud clang, turning to Jughead and tugging him down the corridor. Leaving behind Reggie, who watched you walk away with a pain in his chest.
'Wanna tell me what that was about?’ Jughead asked, stopping you with a hand on your elbow. You swallowed thickly, emotion welling up in your eyes, your throat tight. 'I broke up with Reggie last night,’ you managed to get the words out with some semblance of strength; Jughead’s eyes widened, surprise like ice-water, shocking him deeply. 'What? Why?’
'He’s a bully, Jug,’ you reminded him, sounding tired. 'And I can’t - I don’t want to be with someone like that,’ you confessed, biting your lip in an effort to hold back the tears that stung in your eyes. Jughead’s face softened; any other circumstances, he would have been glad that his best friend was away from the self-obsessed captain of the football team. However, he could see it in your face, how much you were hurting - and, to be fair to Reggie, even if he could he an ass, he was never anything but a loving, kind boyfriend to you.
’(Y/N)…’ he started, feeling guilty, if you had broken not only Reggie’s heart, but your own, for his sake… you immediately held up a hand to stop him. 'Jughead, no. I didn’t do it because of you, I just …’ a heavy sigh followed before you continued, shaking your head. 'I can’t be the girl who dates the asshole jock, anymore. Just because I lo-’ you cut yourself off with a choked sound, and Jughead’s arm immediately came to wrap around your shoulder, comfortingly. 'Just because I care about him, doesn’t mean I can condone his actions.’
Jughead pulled you in for a proper hug then, squeezing you tightly. The affectionate gesture was all it took for the dam to burst. Suddenly, you were a sobbing wreck, head buried in the taller boys chest. He guided you to a empty classroom, and let you sit through the agonising heartbreak you felt deep inside.
The rest of the day passed fairly uneventfully. Reggie approached you a few more times, begging for a minute to talk. Each time, you turned your back and walked away. It was just too much to handle, seeing his face, eyes glazed and eyelashes clinging together with unshed tears. If you even looked at him, just once, you knew it would be the end of you. Veronica and Betty banded together, forming a human shield against your ex - Archie getting angry by the final bell and almost starting a fist fight. Jughead managed to calm him down; 'It’ll only make (Y/N) feel worse.’
You wanted to protest; surely nothing could equal how this felt, to be so close to Reggie but so far away. You kept your mouth shut. You kept your eyes glued to the floor.
Even at home, you were granted no relief. He showed up at the front door, clutching a bouquet of daisies, your favourites. Your father answered, you lurking at the top of the stairs, just out of sight. You couldn’t hear what they were saying, but after a moment, the door closed again. Sitting on the top step, your dad looked up to you, smiling sadly. He showed you the flowers, tied with a blue string. You fell apart again. A note was attached to the stem, and you took it to your room, the lingering scent of his familiar cologne lingering on the envelope.
You read, and reread, and reread, the letter penned in black ink, unmistakably Reggie’s handwriting. You read it until you knew it off by heart, until you could still see the uneven letters when you closed your eyes. Your phone buzzed relentlessly, with pleading messages and voicemails, and concerned texts from the gang. Eventually, you turned it off, crawling under the covers of your bed and switching off the lights. Sleep came surprisingly easy, you felt drained, almost hollow, from the strain of ignoring Reggie and putting on a smile for the sake of your friends.
Tap, tap, tap.
You moaned; rolling over and finding the cool side of the bed. Smiling in your sleep, you relaxed into the mattress.
Tap, tap, tap.
The knocking dragged you, unwillingly, from your rest. You blinked, a yawn wrestling itself out of your mouth.
Tap, tap, tap.
You shot up, the source of the noise hitting you like a truck. You glanced toward your window, the blinds still open, as you hadn’t had the energy to pull them down earlier. In the dim light of the street lamps, you could just about make out Reggie’s face through the pane of glass. Shuffling across the floor, you lifted it up a few inches, folding your arms against the sudden breeze.
’(Y/N),’ he breathed out, voice rough. It was hard to ignore the shiver the sound of it caused down your spine.
'Reggie, I told you yesterday,’ you whispered, 'I have nothing to say to you.’
'Please, baby, can we just talk?’ He begged, and this time he didn’t hold back his tears, tanned face slick with saltwater.
'There’s nothing to talk about,’ the struggle to keep your emotion in check was one you were starting to lose. Putting your hands against the window again, Reggie pressed his palm to the glass. 'Please, (Y/N), please. I can’t lose you. Just - just give me a second chance!’
Your resolve threatened to crumble, the break in his voice like a sharp edge digging into your gut. With all the strength you could muster, you shook your head. 'You haven’t done anything to prove you deserve one.’
With that, you shut the window, stepping away and pulling the blinds down. You couldn’t see, but Reggie had really fallen apart when you shut yourself away from him. His forehead fell to rest against the cool glass, chest heaving with sobs, his whole body shaking so hard he almost lost his balance on the ledge.
Meanwhile, you had climbed back into your bed, turning over your pillow and burying your face into it. You couldn’t believe what had just happened. You couldn’t believe you had shut him down so harshly. While guilt settled in the pit of your belly, you reaffirmed to yourself that it was the right thing to do. Reggie was, at his core, a kind person. However, he wore armour so thick in public it took a lot to shed it all away to get to that kind person. You’d begged him so many times, to stop harassing Jughead, and Reggie had made promises he obviously couldn’t keep. You fell back asleep, eventually, knowing you’d need all your strength to face the following day.
The third week of vacation started just like the others before it: wake up Monday morning, drink way too much coffee, check your bank account for any surprise money you could dump into your savings account to go towards your down payment on a house you had convinced yourself you would buy one day, and choke down a pastry that you had to unwrap from a Little Debbie wrapper instead of bake in an oven.
But for some reason, this morning felt a bit different.
For some reason, this Monday morning saw your body emerge from the guest house before you had coffee.
For some reason, this Monday morning saw you making breakfast in Rossi’s kitchen.
For some reason, this Monday morning greeted you with its sun-rays streaming through Rossi’s windows instead of yours.
To this day, you still aren’t sure what possessed you to spend that particular Monday morning in his home.
To this day, you still aren’t sure as to why you felt that breakfast in David’s house was necessary as opposed to the other times when breakfast was in yours.
But you thank your stars everyday that your soul tugged at you to do something different.
Standing in his kitchen, your shoulders slumped and heavy from too much sleep, you hear him lightly pad down the steps.
Your nightgowned form shocked even him when he got to the bottom of his staircase.
“Y/N?” he croaks.
Without a word exchanged on your end, you slide a cup of coffee out from your side, your small hand grasping the mug as you continue to stir sugar into yours.
“Thanks,” he murmurs, taking it from you as his fingertips grace your hand.
It was the slight twinge of electricity that caused you to look over at your hand, a confused look on your face as David furrows his brow lightly.
“Everything alright?” he asks, taking a long pull of his coffee as you stare at your hand.
Your tingling, trembling hand.
“Y/N?” he asks again, setting the coffee mug on the table as you are pulled from your trance, your eyes whipping over to him as you take in his appearance.
His disheveled, shirtless appearance.
To be a bit more specific, the man’s hair was shuffled, his scruff was rugged, his voice was deep with sleep, and his torso was bare while his legs were donned with what can only be described as a wrinkled pair of jeans he had probably found in the bottom of his closet while rummaging half-blind for a pair of pants.
And you couldn’t take your eyes off of him.
Not trying to hide the fact that your eyes were raking over his body, he stands there as he studies you carefully, watching as your head slowly raises to meet his gaze, hoping that the one undeniable sign would be there, greeting him with a slap to his face.
And when your eyes connected with his, with nothing but black to show for its color, he could see the confusion behind your wanton eyes as your mind tries to make sense of what your body was feeling.
What…he hoped…your heart was feeling…
“Y/N…” he murmurs lowly.
You heard a light whimper cascade your ear drums as you watch Rossi take a step towards you.
“Y/N,” Rossi says, a bit more sternly this time.
It was then that you realized that the whimper you were hearing was coming from you.
And as Rossi stands in front of you, his body heat radiating against your skin as you watch him reach his arm out, you close your eyes and brace yourself for his touch, only to feel him glide past your shoulder and reach for something behind you.
You knew your ragged breathing was audible to him now.
“Sorry,” he murmurs into your ear as his hand wraps around the little sugar pot as your eyes flutter closed, “just want a little sugar as well.”
You had to brace yourself against the kitchen counter to keep from collapsing to your knees.
For the rest of that week you found excuses to be in the main house more often. Whether you were out of soap to wash your dishes (nope) or couldn’t find a seasoning for food you were cooking (nu uh) or even if you were “back-tracing your steps” because you had lost something (what?), you tried finding ways to be around him more without giving away the confusing new feelings that were quickly sorting themselves out in your head.
You body was radiating for Rossi.
You tried to shake it off as an amplified form of gratitude for everything he had done for you…
…but that still didn’t explain the slight twinge of electricity when he had touched you.
You tried to write it off as a rebound from the unrequited feelings you were now starting to get over…
…but that still didn’t explain why you found yourself closing your eyes and dreaming about him at night.
You had even attempted to categorize it as a form of lust: you have been alone for the majority of your adult life, and now you were latching onto the first person to stand by your side…
…but that still didn’t explain your adoration upon realizing he had fought so hard to be there…at your side…
Putting your head in your hands as you stare into your glass of water, you watch as the reflection stills, your face staring back at you as you find yourself uttering the words that have been wafting through your mind for a majority of the week.
“You have fallen for David Rossi,” you snicker incredulously as you shake your head, turning your face so that you can press the heel of your hand into your aching eye.
Your were sure your water was mostly tears at this point.
“Damn it, Y/N,” you curse lightly.
But your pity-party was shattered when a phone that you didn’t realize existed in the guest house rang out into the room.
Furrowing your brow as your head shoots up, your eyes scan the room as it lands on a futuristic-looking blob of plastic that was flickering colors with every ring that poured into the room.
“I didn’t even know that was a phone,” you breathe as you slide off of the bar-stool and make your way for the ringing device.
“Hello?” you breathe, clearing your throat as you pick up the phone.
“Hey there,” Rossi coos in your ear.
“David?” you ask as you make your way for the main window, your fingertips reaching out to part the curtain as you look out to Rossi’s house.
And your eyes land upon the man in a button down shirt and a nice pair of slacks, donned with a coat that framed his torso nicely as you smile lightly to yourself.
“Hey there,” he says again.
“Hi,” you say lightly as you give him a light wave.
“How are you?” he asks as you watch him grab for a glass that held an amber liquid.
“Alright,” you breathe.
“Liar,” David smirks.
You snicker as you shake your head, looking down at your feet before looking back up to his form in his window across the lawn.
“A bit confused,” you admit.
“Would it shock you if I said you weren’t the only one?” David asks.
The sentiment made you furrow your brow.
His chuckle was like pouring butter over warm biscuits.
“Why don’t you come over for dinner? We can…talk,” he states.
But you looked at him again before looking down at your clothes.
“I’m a bit under-dressed,” you admit.
“Then get changed,” he fires back.
“…dinner, huh?” you ask as a smile slowly begins to grace the side of your face.
“Mhm,” David hums into the phone.
“Give me 20 minutes,” you say, setting down the phone as you allow the window curtain to flutter back into place.
And then it was David’s turn to have a smile grace his cheek.