Jughead ripped through red lights faster than even the most lenient traffic laws allowed, something was wrong. Something was very wrong, and he felt his chest getting tighter the closer Pops came into his view.
The cause of his absolute panic? That would be The text message from Archie currently open on his cellphone, thrown lazily on the passenger seat of Fred’s oldest Pick up truck.
“I’m at Pops with Veronica, she’s a mess. It’s Betty. She’s gone.”
Gone? Gone where? What did that mean? Why wasn’t she answering her phone? And why the hell didn’t he walk her home from school today?!
Betty and Jughead had gotten into an argument earlier that day, an angry, heated, vicious argument, each of their insecurities bubbling up to the surface as they spewed nasty words and said things they were sure to regret. Jughead had skipped walking her home after school, sending Veronica instead. Betty was tense and distant from the morning all the way up to their blowout, when he asked her about her behavior she brushed him off, maybe he should have kept his cool but he hated that she was keeping things from him, needless to say the fight didn’t end well and he had gone off on his own, leaving Betty standing alone, crying in the blue and gold office.
Pulling crookedly into a parking spot in front of Pop Tate’s, Jughead jumped out of the car and ran into the restaurant spotting Veronica crying as Archie had an arm around her consoling her, he practically hopped over the booth
“Where is she? What happened?” He demanded, eyeing the raven haired mess.
“I tried to stop her. I did everything I could, she just lost it. She wouldn’t stop crying, she just kept saying “I’m crazy too, I’m just like Polly”. She was ripping her hands open.. she’s got these scars.. Jughead I did everything I could.“ She whispered through a sob as Archie wrapped her in his arms.
"Where is she?! What do you mean "gone” gone where?! You have to tell me more, I don’t understand” he shouted frustrated, his hands slamming on the table.
Archie could sense his friends mood shifting and spoke in low hushed tones
“Ronnie said she’s having herself admitted, something about the same place as Polly. Dude.. polly.. Polly tried to kill herself last night, Betty found her downing pills in the bathroom, Betty thinks she’s crazy just like Polly she doesn’t want to get worse.” Archie cleared his throat, his brown eyes rimmed with unshed tears, sometimes Jughead forgot that Archie was Betty’s true best friend, he had been there before Veronica, before Kevin, even before Jughead.
“I’ve gotta stop her.” Jughead whispered “I’ve gotta stop her before it’s too late, those people at the Institution? They’ll ruin her. she’s not crazy. You know she’s not crazy.” He looked desperately to his friends who were all nodding
“She’s not crazy, she’s just hurting. She’s overwhelmed, she needs support not a nuthouse” Veronica sniffled
Jughead nodded to his friends as he rose from the booth.
“I’m not letting her drown, not without me.” He declared before running off to the truck and speeding off to Betty’s.
As he raced the streets of Riverdale, time seemed to be nothing but an illusion, he was in front of Betty’s house and slamming on her front door before he even knew he had turned on the ignition.
Alice Cooper opened the door and caught sight of Jughead, her red rimmed eyes and frazzled hair stuck out painfully as she visibly relaxed at the sight of Jughead. She knew her daughters boyfriend was the only one who could talk some sense into her broken daughter.
“Thankgod.” She mumbled “upstairs Jughead” she moved aside, watching him sprint up the stairs “our fair Romeo, off to save Princess Juliet” she whispered, the first hint of a smile she had seen in days resting on her face.
Jughead felt his muscles tighten, as he stood before her door. What was he supposed to say? I’m sorry for not being there? I’m sorry I left you like that? I sorry I couldn’t see that you were hurting, that you needed me?
His anxiety ridden thoughts were quickly cut short as Betty’s bedroom door ripped open revealing the beautiful blonde. Betty’s cheeks were covered in smudges of blood, he assumed from wiping her tears with bloody hands, her ponytail was half down, strands sticking to her damp face, the buttoned blouse she wore was missing a button and her hands were shaking, but god damnit if she still wasn’t the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
“Bets.” He whispered
At the sound of his voice, something shifted in Betty’s eyes as she fell against her boyfriend in a pile of chest aching sobs, her hands running all over him almost to ensure that he was real, he knew she was getting blood on his cheeks but that was okay, it was a part of her, a vulnerable, open, heartbreaking piece of his perfectly imperfect girlfriend.
After about thirty minutes of holding her as she wept, her breathing finally slowed and she looked up at him exhausted, her fingers moving to wipe at the blood she had left on his cheek, before flipping her own palm to stare ashamed at what she had done. Jughead shook his head and whispered “no” before bringing her open palm up to his lips and kissing her scars gently.
He heard Betty sigh as she leaned against his shoulder, he had to tell her, he needed her to know, there was so much he could say to her but he settled for
“We’re all crazy”
Those same words he had uttered almost four months ago, relaxing when he felt her smile into his shoulder
“I know.” She whispered