Thank God For Sobriety
It had been two months since Jughead Jones had broken up with Betty Cooper, two months since FP had been released on parole and two months since Jughead had begun to feel the ever present crushing weight of the disappointment piling on his shoulders thicker than any leather jacket he had ever worn.
Fp was ashamed, he felt guilty and hurt that his son was following in his footsteps, he wanted nothing more than to see his oldest succeed, make something of himself. But No, everyday he came home from his Job at Hal Coopers mechanic shop to find his son asleep on the couch, Serpents jacket draped over his shoulders and the bags beneath his eyes darkening.
The older man had been sober for three months, Jugheads father never even so much as glanced at a bottle however, tonight was different. Tonight he would be surrounded by alcohol, surrounded by his former gang members, it was the ultimate test, would he slip? Would he allow the liquid poison to destroy the new life he was trying to build for his family or would he stay strong, would he follow through?
One quick glance at his beanie wearing son slumped against the pool table looking absolutely miserable , a girl with purple streaks in her hair was leaning up against Jughead as he stood stoic.
No, Fp couldn’t slip. Not tonight.
Then he saw her, pastel pinks and blues, a vision of soft cotton and shiny blonde hair. Her eyes were panicked as she searched the smoky bar for something, someone. She caught his eye finally, Fp stood from his bar stool waving a hand towards her as she quickly glided through the rowdy men and scantily dressed young girls.
“Fp, are you okay?! My dad sent me, he said you had an emergency with your bike, he made it sound like there was an accident, I drove here as fast as I could but… but I just kept thinking… what if I’m too late? What if it wasn’t you, what if it was J…” The Beautiful Blonde trailed off, shaking her head and wrapping her arms tight around the older mans waist. “I was so worried” she whispered.
Well good atleast Hal had done his job, you could say a lot of things about the Cooper father but he loved his daughter and he would do anything to make her happy, including involve himself in this silly little plan.
Fp caught his sons startled and nervous eyes from across the room, Jughead pushed away from the purple haired girl, eyes trained on the tiny blonde in his fathers arms.
“Oh no little Coop, you know your dad, so dramatic, my bike broke down outside the bar, I can’t get home without it running and I just can’t figure it out. Of course he’d send you, you are the best mechanic on his team.” He grinned as his future daughter in law blushed prettily.
Betty placed a tiny scarred palm on Fps forearm, her eyes filled with concern and maternal kindness.
“What are you doing here Fp? you shouldn’t be here. If you felt like you needed to talk you know you can always call my dad, or come over! Remember last time? You and dad watched baseball and I made blueberry pie? You said it was better than any scotch you’ve ever had! I can make that again, I just need to run to the store although I’m not sure they’re open this late but I do have cherries at home! I can make a great Che..”
With a laugh a gentle pat to her head the grown man shook his head
“I just needed to check on someone, no drinking for me, and I’ll take you up on they cherry pie offer some other time but right now? Id Be eternally grateful if you could fix my bike for me? I’ll meet you out there in a minute.”
She nodded quickly, hustling through the crowds with practiced ease.
The moment she disappeared from view another familiar face was standing before him, eyes frantic as he ran a hand wildly through his now beanieless black waves.
“What’s wrong? Why is she here? Is it Polly? The babies?! Is it her mom? Is she okay? It’s late she has school in the morning! What did she say to you? Where did she go?!” Jughead panted, his hands reaching out desperately for his fathers collar.
Fp smiled lazily
“She’s just fixing my bike, I’ll be out there in a few minutes, gotta talk to rusty here about putting a few nonalcoholic beverages on the menu.” He teased laughing at the bartenders goofy grin.
“You let her go outside alone?! Here?! What’s wrong with you, you can’t just.. god.. I can’t even believe you!” The young Serpent growled before ripping off in the direction of the door.
Fp leaned back in his stool propping his arms behind his head.
“Take it away son.” He grinned.
Jughead found her leaning over Fps old Harley, hair pulled back in a messy bun and soft blue skirt flowing gently in the wind, her hands were buried deep in the engine and her nose was scrunched in confusion.
“Find the problem kenickie?”
Betty jumped at the familiar rumble of her ex boyfriends voice, her hands trembling as she held the wrench right, looking away quickly she sighed.
“No. I don’t see anything wrong. Other than a few rusty spark plugs it’s in perfect condition, he can bring it to the shop tomorrow, now that you’re here you can take him home. I better go it’s late.” Turning on her heel something in Jughead snapped, he couldn’t just let her walk away again, he wouldn’t be able to bare it if she got in that car and drove away for the second time.
“Betts… Juliet…please” he called after her.
“I’m going home Jughead.” She whispered
Taking a deep breath he started
“I wish I could go home, I haven’t been able to go home for two months. Nothing feels like home anymore. My trailer.. there’s no tiny pink sweaters folded on top of the couch, there’s no lemonade in the fridge, it doesn’t smell like vanilla and honey, my bed.. it’s empty every night. After school.. I still wait for you to come and take your cheerleading sneakers off and drop your feet in my lap. I don’t have a home anymore because you are my home Betty Cooper and…. and damn I want to come home.” He whispered.
She turned abruptly, raindrop tears falling fast from her meadow green eyes as she stood a few feet from him. Stretching her arms open she smiled shaking
“Come home Juggie.”
And seven years later when Jughead dropped down on one knee in the tiny White House they shared on the Southside and asked Betty Cooper to be his wife, Fp Jones was there, sitting sandwiched between Alice cooper and Hal Cooper.
And maybe when he whispered
“Thank god for sobriety”
No one questioned it one bit.