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It Happened One Night

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The event was somewhere between a gala and a night club opening, a rare event that drew not only middle-aged parents but also their young professional children at attend. It was held in August at the city’s social club, a huge behemoth of a venue connected to the city government building and the city’s resident small, prestigious university. The prodigious halls were lined with dark mahogany wood and old stone, gold and black carpets lit up with the specialty lighting hired by the team of event planners.

Betty and Veronica had been going together since they were eighteen, the legal age for attendance to try to counteract all the underage drinking, despite the fact that the served all attendees with or without ID. The best friends had gone shopping downtown for the occasion, the event being one where their best dresses weren’t good enough.

Veronica had chosen a slinky, ruched, floor length dress made from a silky black material, two straps holding each shoulder up and a long train trailing out the back from hip level, twisting and turning to meet the floor. She looked stunning, dark and mysterious with her cat eye makeup and her silky smooth hair.

Betty had gone for a different look, one that suited her infinitely more comfortably: a baby blue floral lace dress with an allusion neckline. It nipped her in at the waist and flared away from her body, hitting the floor in a voluminous bunch. It had silver thread running through that caught the light as she moved, examining herself before the mirror in one final before they hopped in Veronica’s fancy family car to set off to the event.

“You look amazing, Betts,” Veronica beamed, coming up next to her in the mirror to join her. “A vision.”

“I look so… demure,” Betty laughed, not being able to help comparing herself to the sexy Veronica next to her.

“It’s a good look for you,” Veronica replied matter-of-factly, “Makes people want to corrupt you.”

Betty rolled her eyes and laughed as they grabbed their gloves, shawls, and clutches to head downstairs.


The ride to the event with Veronica’s parents had been uneventful at best, with Hermione, Hiram, and Veronica discussing various individuals that would be attending tonight, reminding each other of small details to appear more interested and interesting. Betty called her parents home from the car telephone to check whether or not they had left already; the lack of answer had indicated that she was correct.

The crowds waited for the doors to open, milling about with crystal flutes of expensive champagne, some people already showing their buzz more than they should have been this early in the evening. Veronica ran off to say hi to a school friend. Betty veered off in search of her parents.

“You look wonderful, Betty,” Alice glowed as Betty approached them. “I got you a drink.”

“Thank you,” Betty said as she took it in her white gloved hands, gratefully taking a sip and looking around.

She saw the mayor and the mayor’s children, happily mingling with some of the state senators. The big businessmen were there with their pretty, blonde wives on their arms, decked out in diamonds and pearls. She saw a flash of dark hair and shivered, stretching to get a better look but unable to get an eye on the person she thought she’d seen again.

The doors finally opened and the crowds shuffled in, oohing and ahhing about how everything had turned out, running into people they hadn’t seen in the foyer, grabbing more drinks.

“The Club looks nice,” Betty mentioned to fill the silence as they filed in.

“Oh, it’s fabulous, isn’t it? Deborah was on the decorating committee and she said that they spent forever on the theme. It turned out wonderfully.”

Betty had to agree. The grand ballroom was decorated ornately, every surface glowing with delicate white, pink, and purple flowers and candlelight, bathing the room in effervescent intimacy. Betty looked around the head in front of her to see a jazz band playing dancing music in the corner by the dance floor.

The dinner lights were low and the guests immediately started chatting up a storm, heading for their tables and off to dance. Everyone who was anyone in Riverdale’s political and social scene was there, milling about, dressed to the nines, and sipping on cocktails while discussing the latest in business and politics. Betty saw some of her professors from school, chatting to other faculty members and associates.

“I believe I saw Archie Andrews, who else’s red head could that be?” said Hal Cooper.

“Archie’s here?” Betty perked up slightly at the thought of seeing her childhood best friend and adolescent crush.

“Let’s find our seats and I’m sure we’ll run into him,” Alice replied, herding her family to their seats at a round table towards the front of the room near the dance floor. Betty didn’t know how she did it, but Alice always seemed to pull enough strings to make the family look more important than they really were. Betty sat down, pulling her shawl off and setting her clutch on the table next to her plate.

“Do my eyes deceive me?” A teasing tone came from behind her. She whipped around to find Archie, grinning at her.

“Archie Andrews, in the flesh!” She teased back.

“You wanna dance?” he asked, reaching for her hand.

“I’d be honored,” she said, grabbing his hand and following him to the dance floor as the band started a jazz cover of some Everly Brothers song.

“How was Columbia?” she asked, placing her arm around his neck and her hand in his hand as they started to swing back and forth. It had been years since she’d seen him; he had graduated and already been through one job, taking a break before moving to another. She remembered it being in sales, but she couldn’t quite remember.

“Perfect, really. I love the city,” he said, still smiling, “But I’m glad to be home for the summer before I start work again. I miss the small-town life most of the time.”

“It is a small town, that’s for sure,” she laughed.

“I’ve missed you loads,” he admitted sheepishly. “It’s hard for a guy out there without his best friend.”

“It’s hard out there for a girl without her best friend too,” she replied sadly, cheering up when a thought occurred to her, “But it’s given Veronica and I the opportunity to become a lot closer.”

Archie wrinkled his nose. “Veronica Lodge?”

“She’s different than she was in high school, Arch,” Betty insisted, “We’ve been done with high school for three years now. She’s much more down to earth. Much less angry.”

The band slowed to a new song and he pulled her closer, moving his hand down her back slightly.

“Whatever you say,” Archie replied disbelievingly. “Anyways, what are you up to these days?”

Betty had to stop the blush from creeping up her neck. “Not a whole lot, just working for my parents and finishing up school. I’m hoping to graduate next year. I just have a couple more semesters of credits to get through.”

“Me too!” he replied excitedly, “Maybe I can go to your ceremony.”

“That’d be nice, Arch,” she replied, genuinely happy at the thought. “You seeing anyone these days?”

“Nah,” he replied, scanning the room behind her head for a moment, “Dated a bit at school but nothing serious when there’s too much fun to be had.”

“Of course,” she laughed, “I’d expect nothing less from Mr. Football.”

“You dating?”

“Uh,” her voice catching for a moment, “Not really. Kind of like you, minus the fun part.”

“Oh, c’mon, Betts,” he teased, “The Riverdale U boys must be climbing over themselves to take you out on Friday nights.”

“I’m not in high school, Archie Andrews,” she laughed again, her cheeks hurting from how much his good nature was making her smile, “I’m not looking to go to Pop’s after football games anymore.”

“You looking for something serious then?”

“No,” she shrugged, leaning against him slightly, resting her head on his chest and he lead them, “The guys my age, heck even your age, just seem a little too… immature. Trying to pin me when we barely know each other. Acting like… I don’t know.”

“That’s okay. Boys are always up to no good anyways,” he said as he laughed. She could feel the rumble of his chest against her head.

“Well, you’d know, wouldn’t you?” she teased, looking up at him again.

“How about if we’re still single when we’re forty, we’ll get hitched?” he suggested, teasing her back.

She laughed back, nodding. Part of her wished that she’d had chemistry with Archie. Their relationship would be so easy, all dinner parties and well-behaved children, American-made cars and day trips to the beach. She’d had a fat crush on the boy when she was younger but the attraction had diminished as they’d grown. Now they were left with an extremely platonic friendship and she was left feeling nostalgic for something she’d neither had nor wanted. 

The music slowed to a stop and Archie lead her off the dance floor, kissing her cheek and mentioning something about finding his parents. She turned back, looking for her mom, who gave her a wave to get Betty’s attention.

When approaching the table, she realized that her seat and the ones next to her were inhabited by a group of men, dressed in expensive black suits, chatting with her parents and the other current occupants at the table. But hers, hers was taken by a someone she knows. The sight of the back of his head startled her and despite herself, her heart started racing, her palms starting to sweat. She smoothed her dress and her hair while she walks, trying to simultaneously dry her hands. 

She walked up to him and slid her left hand down his shoulder, squeezing slightly as her hand wraps around him. He was warm to the touch and she was thankful that she’d painted her nails for the occasion.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said, more confidently than she felt, lowering her voice down from her normally higher pitched voice, “I believe you’re in the wrong seat.”

He turned his head to look at her and her breath hitched.

“Hello, darling,” Jughead Jones said, his demeanor unsurprised, his voice smooth and deep, “Pardon me.” He took her hand and kissed her ring finger, his eyes moving up to meet hers and lingering. She felt the butterflies in her stomach burst and wondered what he’s thinking. She looked her up and down, smiling lasciviously when he saw the blush reach her cheeks.

Jones was an old friend of the family’s, well Veronica’s family really. She’d seen him more at Veronica’s house than she had her own. Betty remembers him from years ago, him coming to office of the Register when she was in high school helping her parents out for a summer. He had talked about investment opportunities for the newspaper or something like that with her parents. She hadn’t been sure what he did for a living, but she remembers how he all but ignored her save for polite salutations when coming and going.

The summer after she graduated, he’d come to the Lodgess when she was a guest for dinner. Veronica had mentioned a business associate of her parents, a Mr. Jones, but Betty hadn’t put two and two together until he had walked through the door. He had paid her slightly more attention this time, hiding a smile every time she blushed.

“He’s dishy,” Veronica had stated plainly after dinner while sitting on her bed and taking her heels off.

“What?” Betty exclaimed as she spun around.

“What do you mean what? He’s hot,” Veronica had shrugged.

As per usual, the two women had complete different taste. Betty couldn’t even think of the older man in that way. He looked to be at least a decade older than them, if not more. She had no judge of age, but was sure that he was entirely too old to be thinking of whether or not he was hot. Betty had paid him no notice nor given him a second thought for the next few years.

Jughead let go of her hand and stood up to pull her chair out for her, motioning for the man next to her, presumably one of his employees, to stand up and vacate his seat so Jughead could sit next to her.

“You look magnificent, Elizabeth,” he said, his eyes clouding with darkness. She shivered.

“Thank you, Mr. Jones,” she said warmly, a perfect picture of politeness, gaining more of her confidence back, the confidence that he had shaken out of her when he had looked her up and down. She took a sip of her champagne and composed herself. “How is business?”

“I don’t want to talk about business,” he replied, his voice lowering even more.

“Well what would you like to talk about then?” She asked teasingly, “Enlighten me.”

He chuckled, raising his eyebrows at her as he leaned in slightly.

“I’ll let you know when I decide,” he replied, his voice playful. He’s flirting with me, she thought.

“That doesn’t seem entirely fair,” she said, mock pouting, sticking her bottom lip out just slightly. His eyes flicked down to her lips as he licked his own. He laughed and the butterflies in her stomach started moving around again at the sound.

“How about a toast instead?” he said, raising his glass.

“Sounds like perfection,” she said, leaning her elbow onto her crossed knee and placing her chin into her hand, holding up her glass with the other. 

“To tonight,” he said as he clicked her glass with his own.

They each took a sip, looking each other in the eye as they swallowed. Her eyes flicked down to his lips as he leaned into her ear. Her heart started beating harder at the smell of his aftershave.  

“Go wait for me in my office,” he whispered as he kissed her on a cheek.

Chapter Text

Betty excused herself from the present company, giving her lamentations and apologies to the men to her left and her parents' colleagues to her right, setting her sights on her mother as the one she needed to convince that everything was normal. She debated picking up her clutch and her shawl but decided against it, knowing it would make Alice more suspicious if she took her belongings with her.

“Mother?” Betty squatted slightly next to Alice’s chair.

“Just one moment,” Alice said to the woman she was talking to, “Yes?”

“I think I left my lipstick with Veronica, I-I’m going to go look for it,” the words tumbled out of Betty’s mouth before she could think of what she was going to say, and she was thankful that her brain was working a little more than she had thought, despite the glass or two of champagne she'd downed. Alice’s eyebrows raised slightly as she took a sip of her drink, something dark and in a rocks glass.

“Of course, honey, be quick. Oh – will you pick me up another drink on the way back once you find it?” her mother replied, then said in a lower tone, “Oh and fix your hair, sweetheart. It looks frizzy.”

“Yes, Mother,” Betty replied, pulling herself up again and rolling her eyes.

She walked through the room, shuffling past people, wondering if Jughead was watching her as she moved through the crowds. The thought made her walk a little more quickly, swinging her hips slightly as she wandered around a group of loud politicians.

The attendant at the door looked at her slightly suspiciously as she walked back out into the foyer. She waited until someone else had his attention and slid through a door at the end of the hall to the stairwell behind it, walking up two flights to the business offices of the social club and taking the first door on the left, into another ornately decorated hallway, complete with matching mahogany paneling and plush carpet.

She stepped carefully on the hardwood floor, trying not to make any sound until she reached the green and gold carpet in the center of the corridor. She stopped and checked her reflection in the mirror, smoothing her dress and her hair again, turning to make sure the seam at the back of her dress was hidden and her stockings were straight before heading into his office.

The familiar smell of the office, pipe tobacco and old leather and fresh books and his aftershave, filled her senses as she closed her eyes and tried to slow her pulse.

She had been in here before, many times before actually, but never under quite so naughty premises. Normally she came to drop things off from faculty at the university or to take a nap on the plush leather couches between classes or when she just needed an escape. That had been her first reason for coming, that day all those months ago. The memories clouded her thoughts and pulled her away from the present moment.

“Who are you?” a voice startled her out of her thoughts.

A kid looking no more than fifteen had opened the door on her, his arms filled with papers as he stared back at her with wide eyes and disbelief. She was just as confused. Why was this kid in Jughead’s office on a Saturday night?

“Who are you?” she cried back.

“I’m Robert, Mr. Jones’ assistant,” he replied, the confused look still on his face, “What are you doing here?”

“How old are you?” she asked him instead, ignoring her question. He looked like a little kid to her. She was trying to size him up, figure out how much power she had over him.

“S-sixteen,” he stuttered.

“Oh,” she said as she peeks back out the crack in the door, searching for Jughead. “You’re a baby.”

“I am not!” he exclaimed. She could see him puffing up his chest and attempting to act authoritative. “Why are you even here? You shouldn’t be here!”

“Will you stop asking questions?” she replied back, feeling more frustrated with each passing moment spent with this kid, “Why are you even working on a Saturday?”

“You’re not allowed to be here. You should leave!” he said. The kid’s face was red, getting redder.

“Oh, God,” she said as she rolled her eyes and turned towards him, sitting on the edge of the desk facing away from the door, “Are you serious? Go home.”

“Hey – you can’t tell me what—“ the kid’s voice was interrupted by one much older.

“Bobby, go home.”

Betty and the boy spun around to see Jughead Jones standing in the doorway, looking mildly amused and incredibly attractive in his black tuxedo and bowtie.

“Yes, sir, Mr. Jones, sir,” the boy cried, clearly flustered and reaching to gather a pile of papers before shuffling outside.

The door closed and time seemed to move in slow motion as Jughead walked towards her. She was struck again by the way his jacket fit him, the curl of his hair across his forehead, how plump his lips looked. 

“Why did you have to scare my assistant, Betty?” he said, his voice teasing and his eyebrows raised.

“I didn’t — ”

Her words were cut off as he kissed her suddenly, instantly reaching his tongue into her mouth and grabbing the back of her neck, dragging her against him with a gasp. She felt the electricity from earlier when she touched him and the smell of his aftershave filled her senses, intoxicating her and dragging her further into his world, breaking down her barriers as her need for him increased.

He kissed her harder with each passing second, stealing her breath and pushing his mouth desperately against hers, his hand running down her waist to grip her ass tightly over the ample fabric of her dress. He pulled her harder against himself, grinding against her center. His breath was hot against her lips and it felt like he was stealing the air from her lungs. No matter how fast she breathed, it still felt like she was suffocating. She needed his lips against hers again.

He lifted her up, running his hands along her ass and he dragged her to the door, slamming her against it and pushing his entire body against hers. She moaned at his show of strength, hating how her body reacted to how he could control her, lift her up, possess her, take her. The doorknob dug into her back but she didn’t care; she needed him closer, she wanted to feel him against her core again. He held her up as he went for her neck, biting the sensitive skin and making her gasp.

“God, Betts,” he moaned, biting her hard enough for a squeak to escape her mouth.

“Juggy,” she moaned in response. She couldn’t tell what was making her tremble: the adrenaline from her interaction with the kid, the fear she felt from the dangerously dark tone of his voice, or the arousal she knew was doubling with every moment passed. She wondered fleetingly if he was trembling too, if she had as much control over him as he did over her.

“Missed you, baby,” he gasped as she rolled her hips against his hardness, the soft fabric of her dress rubbing against her middle as she rubbed against him. She loved when he called her baby, the rare occurrence when he let it slip in their most intimate moments. She gasped as he ran his hand into her hair and pulled, exposing her neck to his teeth and mouth.

“Jughead, my hair,” she protested, thinking of the delicate curls she had prepared before the event. He growled and her breath hitched, knowing that she had set him off now, that he wanted her ruined in front of him. His need to possess her was palpable. He bit her neck again and dropped her down back onto the ground, unsteady of her feet, before turning her around and pushing her front against the wall, her breasts pressed up against the wood, his hands on her waist as he attacked her neck under her updo.

He pushed the fabric of her dress up until her ass was exposed to him, reaching his hand under her slip and into her panties.

“What do you want?” he breathed against her neck.

His voice was sweet poison to her, convincing her to do naughty things that would give her release. This has gone on too long, she thought to herself. It had only been a couple weeks since she'd seen him; he'd been away on business and she'd been busy with classes. This has to stop, she thought to herself. But then his hand ran along her clit and her body jerked in response, leaving her leaning further over and wiggling her ass in his direction.

“Please…” she moaned. His fingers slipped up and down her core, teasing her clit before sliding one lonely finger inside her of her tenderly and teasingly. She couldn’t say it, it was too much to have to say what she wanted, but she needed him inside of her right this second. She could feel her resolve dissolving and she knew that he felt it too.

“Say it,” he ordered.

“I want you,” she acquiesced, her forehead falling against the wood paneling on the wall as she arched her back towards him, giving into her need to have him inside her. She needed it so bad that she could feel the waves of need coming over her.

“Mmm,” he sighed contentedly. She could hear the triumphant smile in her voice. “Good girl.”

He held the fabric of her fancy dress with one hand and pushed down on her back, forcing her to present her ass to him as he stared at her from behind. The thought of bending over for him sent a shiver down her spine and she wiggled her ass more, desperate for him to feel the intense need for her that she felt for him. He smacked her sensitive skin and she moaned despite herself, relishing the smarting feeling of his hand against her ass, feeling the subtle warmth slide up her body. She pushed her back against his crotch even harder and sighed at the sound of him undoing his zipper and the feeling of her panties sliding down the sensitive skin of her ass and over the tops of her stockings on her thighs.

“You’re so wet, Betts,” he said, tugging her hair hard enough to make her cry out in pain and teasing her entrance with the head of his cock, “You been thinking about this?”

“Mhmm,” she couldn’t help but moan.

He spanked her again and unzipped the back of her dress, reaching around from her back to pinch her nipples, making her gasp again at the pain. She was desperate for his touch, craved it whether it was harsh or tender, whether he was giving her pleasure through pleasure or pleasure through pain. Arousal curled in her belly at the thought.

“So eager,” he chuckled, lining his cock up with her entrance, pushing inside slowly. She gasped at the intrusion, at the feeling of him finally inside her after what felt like an eternity of teasing. She pushed back against him, sliding herself along his hardness, and felt proud at the moan that he let out. He slid in and out of her again, eliciting a simultaneous moan from the two of them together. She looked over her shoulder at him, his jacket on the ground and the sleeves of his white dress shirt rolled up as he bit his lip and fucked her slowly. The sight of him was overwhelming.

In these moments, she was his, his to spank and pinch and fuck as much as he wanted. She didn’t know when it had happened, but from the first time that he kissed her, he had set something rumbling inside her. She was desperate for his approval, for him to voice his confirmation of how good she was, of how much he needed her, of how she was doing a good job. She was desperate to know that he needed her in the way that she needed him.

“God, you’re such a little slut,” he moaned, grabbing her hips in his hands and earnestly pounding into her now. She braced her arms in front of her and pushed against him.

“No,” she breathed, hating the word but loving the way it made her body shiver, hating her reaction but loving how good it made her feel, loving how his tone showed that he loved it. Her body reacted to the words, making her wetter and hotter and, despite not thinking that it was possible, more desperate.

“Yes,” he laughed back, pinching her nipple and eliciting a moan from her.

“No,” she moaned, louder this time as he pushed into her particularly deeply.

“Why would you meet me here if you didn’t want it?” he whispers in her ear. “Only a slut would to get fucked in the office of an older man while everyone she know sips cocktails in the other room.”

She knew it was true, that she was hopelessly addicted to the way that him, addicted to the way that his hands traveled and played her body like a finely tuned instrument. She had let him take her at the most important social event of the year, fucking him in his office while her best friend was in the other room, completely oblivious. She was desperate for the release that only he could give him, for the way that she came undone with him, for him when he asked her.

She placed her palms against the wall as she felt his hands leave her hips, desperate to feel him fucking her, and pushed back against him. She tried to look back and he slapped her ass. She looked forward quickly as the place where he hand had landed burned, the familiar warmth of multiple slaps warming her skin.

His hands dug into the sensitive flesh of her ass where her skin was burning. She was sure they would be red after he was done with her. She shivered, her body moving against her volition.

“I hate seeing you dance with someone else,” he groaned with the sound of his skin hitting hers, “No more dancing with other men, you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” she moaned.

“You’re mine, Betts,” he pulled her hair and her back arched, sending him deeper into her, the smell of him filling her senses. “God, you’re such a tease, walking along looking so beautiful, acting like I can’t have you.”

“I’m yours,” she moaned, knowing the words would get him closer. She wanted to push him over the edge, to feel him come undone. “Yours, Juggy.”

“Fuck,” he moaned. He was fucking her so hard that she felt like she would burst, the climbing sensation growing inside of her. She could tell that he knew it, the tone of his voice, his breath. He could sense the change in her, how she was getting closer and closer. She knew he got harder at how much he could control her. 

He reached in between her legs, moving his hand around the bunches of her dress to finger her bundle of nerves and in an instant, she felt herself on the brink, the sensations almost too intense and wonderful and painful to bear. She was at the peak and she tried to resist, tried to stop herself from cumming on his cock, knowing how wrong it was that she was turned on by the way that he treated her, by the way he demanded her orgasm.

"Cum for me, baby," he demanded. 

“Jughead – ” she managed to choke out before she lost the last semblance of control she had over the sensations and the coil deep inside her broke. She struggled to breath as her nerves screamed out pleasure and she lost track of time, riding waves of pleasure with no awareness for her surroundings.

Chapter Text

Finally, she came down slightly, her body shaking with aftershocks of her orgasm. She turned her head back over her shoulder to look at him to find he was looking at her with what could only be described as bliss, his chest heaving as he panted. The usual darkness in his eyes, the weight of the world on his shoulders, had lifted, showing her instantly how he felt the same afterglow as she did. She smiled into the back of her hand as she struggled to catch her breath, feeling slightly empty when he pulled out.

“Do you have something to clean up?” she panted, her ears ringing from her orgasm.

“What do you mean?” he asked as he zipped his pants up and started to reassemble his suit, pulling his bowtie back on, his vest, his jacket. The sight of him pulling his clothes on distracted her for a moment until she snapped back to reality. She looked at him in disbelief as she stood, still bent over and leaned up against the wall, waiting for him to help her.

“Napkins, handkerchief, towel, that sort of thing,” she said, her eyes wide. He looked at her mischievously, looking about ten years younger than she knew him to be. “You’re kidding, right? I’m a mess. Am I supposed to just go out there?”

“Yes,” he said simply, pulling her panties up over her stockings and her dress and slip down, zipping the fabric at her back together, kissing her open mouth. His hand on the small of her back sent warmth up and down her spine. The thought of walking back into the ballroom with his cum dripping down her leg snapped her out of it.

“Jughead,” she groaned in annoyance, “Please.”

“Fine,” he said shortly, moving behind her, and she sighed in relief. In a moment, she felt the movement of fabric and then his fingers against her core and then his fingers against lips and she opened her mouth, tasting a mix of them on his fingers before opening her eyes and looking up at him. He grinned as she cleaned his fingers with her tongue.

“Such a good girl,” he whispered, his voice low and gravelly as he praised her.

“You’re incorrigible,” she said, rolling her eyes at him and licking her lips, trying to ignore the butterflies that erupted in her stomach at his approving words.

“You’re a little bit cleaner now,” he said teasingly as he kissed her chastely, “but I have to admit, I like you the other way as well.”

“Yes, and that’s a real surprise,” she rolled her eyes sarcastically, pulling her dress down to cover herself again.

He moved behind her, pulling her ass tight against his crotch again, wrapping one arm around her shoulders and the other around her waist. He kissed her cheek as he wrapped his arms around her from behind. She sighed guiltily and leaned into his chest, allowing herself a moment of letting her guard down.

It was getting increasingly difficult to ignore the butterflies in her stomach that fluttered at each lingering touch of his fingertips on her skin.

“Did I tell you tonight how beautiful you are?” he whispered in her ear, his voice hot against her ear.

It was a first, the compliment while they were completely clothed. This intimate moment, the nonchalant nature of his words, how he was helping her clean up and pressing kisses against her neck, wrapping his arms around her from behind and giving her compliments. It felt serious, natural, domestic. She tilted her head slightly to look at him, to read his expression. His eyes had darkened again.

“You didn’t,” she said self-consciously.

“It’s true,” he said against the skin on her shoulder, leaning his head against her frame.

Her stomach fluttered again and a small ache in her heart thudded, the thought occurring to her that this may be the only thing she’ll ever be to him. She looked down at his hand on her waist, feeling the muscles of his arms around her. Her brain looked for something else to focus on, her thoughts blurring as her eyes teared slightly.

“I’m going to have to get this dry-cleaned,” she sighed as she smoothed the fabric and he put his hands on her shoulders.

“That you will, darling,” he grinned.

Betty noticed the mirror in the corner and moved to it, fixing her dress and trying to ignore the slippery feeling between her legs and the thumping of her heart. She patted a finger over her lips and pinched her cheeks, wishing that she had been honest and actually had looked for her lipstick. He placed a hand on her lower back as she smoothed her irreparably damaged up do. “You ready?”

She nodded and he led her out of the office. She waited in anticipation for the moment that his hand left her back, the moments they had shared fading away into nostalgic memory. The lack of his touch made her colder, the afterglow slipping away slightly. He held the door open for her and let her slip out first, the doorman having completely left his post.

They walked back into the room together, Betty feeling incredibly self-conscious at the thought of anyone having suspicions against them but the thrill of his public presence next to her washed over her. They made their way across the room to her table quickly, the crowds of people having moved to the dance floor.

“Betty, honey,” Alice exclaimed with a slight slur upon seeing Betty’s return, clearly having found herself another drink or two (or three) while surrounded by more business people, milling about and chatting. “You’ve been gone for ages. Where on earth have you been?”

Betty blushed again, grabbing a champagne glass that she hoped was hers off the table quickly as an excuse for not answering as she sat down in her assigned chair. Jughead took a seat across the table from her, grabbing a drink from a passing waiter as he raised his eyebrows roguishly at her.

“Elizabeth here was just feeling a little bit flustered,” he winked at her from across the table, “We got a little bit of air and now she’s feeling fully refreshed.”

She blushed and took another large gulp of her champagne, eager for the attention to be pulled towards someone else. Luckily, Alice had gotten inordinately drunk in the time that Betty had been gone and was busy ignoring her husband to talk to some man in an ugly suit in a voice that was entirely too loud.

Betty took the opportunity to survey the room and see if she could spot Veronica. She was met with the view of her sweeping black dress on the dance floor, held close against a man whose head and face she couldn’t see.

“Looks like we had better get your mother home, Betty,” Hal stated, propping Alice up slightly and taking her drink, making sure she didn’t spill it on herself. Betty reluctantly agreed that Alice was ready to go home. “Get your things.”

“Wait, Dad, I wasn’t – I’m not ready to leave yet,” Betty protested, trying to stop her eyes from flicking to Jughead.

“Well, how are you going to get home? We need to leave and you need to get home,” Hal replied, rolling his eyes slightly as he tried to corral his wife.

“C’mon, Betty, come with us,” Alice implored, slurring slightly.

“Betty, we need to leave now—“

“I just don’t want to—“

“This is your last warning, Betty—“

“I can take her home, Hal,” Jughead interrupted, causing Betty to sputter on her drink. His eyes were twinkling with mischief that made Betty nervous.

“Pardon me?” Betty and her mother said simultaneously.

“Why don’t you two head home? Betty’s safe with me,” he winked at Alice and Betty very nearly choked on her drink this time. Hal and Alice turned to her look at her curiously.

“Wrong pipe,” Betty squeaked out.

“Well,” Hal reasoned, taking a few uncomfortable moments to think it over, “All right, but don’t stay out too late, Betty. I mean it.”

“I won’t,” Betty replied quickly, secretly knowing that Alice would be too drunk to know when Betty even got home.

Hal shook Jughead’s hand as a thanks and all of a sudden her parents had left, leaving Betty dependent on Jughead to get her home from a very public event. It wasn’t helping that Jughead had taken her dad’s seat to her left. He leaned across the empty chair to hand her a new glass of champagne. She hadn’t realized that the one she’d picked up when she’d sat down was already gone. She took it with a blush.

“Betty!” A loud voice squealed in her ear. She turned to see a slightly flushed Veronica, giddy with champagne and extraversion, wrapping her arms around Betty’s shoulders from behind.

“Oh, thank goodness,” Betty sighed with a laugh as she patted Veronica’s arm. “I saw you dancing!”

Veronica squeezed Betty’s shoulders before turning her attention to Jughead, as if seeing him for the first time.

“Mr. Jones,” Veronica said, kissing him on the cheek and turning on her conversational charm as she took the empty chair between the two of them. “Where have you been this evening? I haven’t seen you!”

Jughead laughed and replied, “I’ve been here and there. Had some business to attend to back at the office.” Betty glared at him from behind Veronica’s back.

“How is business?” Veronica asked, leaning forward on her elbows, ignoring all rules of etiquette.

Jughead’s eyes flicked to Betty quickly, his eyes laughing as he replied to Veronica. It was like they had an inside joke now. “It’s good, third quarter sales are projecting well.”

“Congratulations,” Veronica replied, clinking her glass against his, leaning back against Betty across the gap between their chairs and looking up at her friend happily. “I love events.”

“I know you do,” Betty laughed in reply. There was something about this night that was shaping up to be a memorable one.

“Did you meet anyone… special?” Veronica teased. Betty rolled her eyes, trying to ignore Jughead’s reaction from across the table. His eyes were burning a hole in her being.

“Did you meet someone special, Ronnie?” Betty teased back, knowing that Veronica had something she wanted to spill.

“I talked to Archie Andrews a fair bit,” her dark-haired friend admitted, looking at her Betty again for approval.

“You did?” Betty was mildly surprised. “He’s nice, right?”

“He asked me out, for dinner, on Friday,” she dished, “I said yes.”

“I thought we were supposed to go to the movies on Friday,” Betty said, slightly hurt, but not really caring this far into a night full of champagne and the afterglow of a hefty orgasm still lightening her mood.

“I can cancel if you want,” Veronica offered, looking at Betty with sad brown eyes.

“No,” Betty laughed, “It’s fine, you go. I’ll find something else to do.”

“This is why you are the best,” Veronica said and turned to Jughead as if noticing that he was there for the first time again. “Isn’t Betty the best?”

“Of course,” he replied, leaning towards the women to place his elbows on his knees. Betty was struck with another angle of how he looked gorgeous, his blue eyes sparkling from the candles on the table.  Veronica giggled in front of her and Betty had to stop herself from blushing for what felt like the hundredth time of the evening. “Absolute best.”

They chatted for a few more minutes before Veronica stated that she’d had too much to drink and was off to find her parents, intent on going home to her plush pad and taking a cat nap. Betty stood up to hug her and realized the time had passed enough that the crowds in the ballroom were diminished greatly. Her stomach was grumbling at her lack of food, having skipped dinner for her rendezvous. Veronica rushed off and left Jughead and Betty alone at their table.

“Ready to go, sweetheart?” he asked her, standing up when she did. She nodded, loving how attentive he was and he muttered quickly that he was going to make the rounds and pull up the car. She went to powder her nose and agreed to meet him in the front.

He met her out front as he said he would, leaning against the side of his black town car. Something sparked inside her that she couldn’t quite put her finger on, the familiar nostalgic tug from earlier taking hold of her heart again. He pulled the door open for her and she grinned, sliding into the seat and watching as he walked around the side of the car.

She realized in that moment that the glasses of champagne she’d downed while trying to avoid questions from her parents had hit her a little bit harder than she’d thought. She rested her head against the cool leather of the seat and turned to look at him.

“I’m starved,” Betty complained, her rumbling stomach protesting.

“Let’s eat,” Jughead suggested, quickly going to the driver to mutter some words in his ear and giving him a friendly pat on the shoulder. She looked at him questioningly as he came back to sit next to her. “We’re going to Pop’s.”

She laughed at the clichéd nature of it all, having sex at a gala and then stopping at a greasy burger joint to feed the tipsy girl.

In these moments, when the alcohol infiltrated her system enough to make her relax when she normally couldn’t, she let her mind wander. Betty was curious, curious as to why this evening felt different than their relationship had been for the last few months. She considered the thought that it could have been the thrill of being public, of his hand at the small of her back around people who had no inkling of the nature of their relationship.

She considered it all being a figment of her imagination, an orgasm inspired daze of exaggerated sensations. But she looked at Jughead, who had opened the door for her and was taking her to get a burger. She had a fleeting realization that this was the most time they had ever spent together at one time, the hours having passed quickly on the evening.

“We don’t have to do this,” she said, feeling bad for making him stop so late at night, “I can just make some food at home.”

Jughead waved her off and minutes later, they were pulling up to the neon-lighted diner. He slid out first and pulled open the door for her, placing his hand at the small of her back, sending electricity down her spine.

“Well don’t you look darling, Miss Cooper,” the man behind the counter exclaimed. “I was just about to close up, but take any seat and we’ll get you served right up.”

Betty blushed and thanked him, feeling bad that she was derailing yet another person’s plans with her hunger. They took a booth towards the back and ordered, a strawberry milkshake and a cheeseburger for her, and two cheeseburgers, fries, and a chocolate shake for him.

“Oh my goodness,” she said, looking hungrily at the burger and shake that had just been served to her, “I am going to devour this.”

“Oh yeah?” he laughed, waggling his eyebrows at her, “Someone worked up an appetite.”

She narrowed her eyes at him and took a vicious bite of her burger, sighing contentedly as her stomach stopped protesting her very existence. She looked up at him after a few more bites and saw that one of his burgers was already gone.

“Where does all that food go?” she asked incredulously as she took a sip of her shake.

“I’m truly blessed,” Jughead replied straightly, patting his stomach and digging into his second burger. They ate in silence for a few minutes, too hungry to talk when there was food to be consumed.

She realized that this was the first meal that they’d eaten together.

“Why are you doing this?” Betty asked him, looking down at her plate away from his eyes.  

“What?” Jughead replied with a full mouth.

“Taking me home, taking me out…” her voice trailed off and she looked up at him quickly, startled to see him peering at her curiously.

“I want you to be happy,” he replied, looking at her earnestly and nonchalantly, like it was the most obvious, normal thing in the world. “I want to make you happy.”

She blushed and stopped questioning him, turning her attention to finishing her burger and watching the few other patrons in the diner. A young couple, maybe fifteen years old, feeding each other fries. A single man with a cheeseburger. She felt starkly out of place in her ball gown, Jughead in his tuxedo. She took another sip of her milkshake and made small talk.

They sat and laughed and for a while, she felt like they could be a normal couple. Going to Pop’s and eating burgers together, holding hands in the back of his car. She wondered what her parents would think if they knew and she stifled her shutter at the thought of them finding out.

He was handsome in this light, his hair falling over his eyes as he dove into his food vehemently, his tie never having fully recovered from its brief recess on the floor of Jughead’s office. His eyes glittered as he told her anecdotes and she stole his fries. The second burger was nearly gone, having disappeared as quickly as the first one had.  

She admired his shoulders in his dress shirt, having shrugged his tuxedo coat off in favor of ease of food consumption. The veins in his hands travelled up his muscular forearms and he caught her staring. She licked her lips, enjoying the way a surprised smile graced his face while he took the final bite of his second burger.

They eventually headed back to the car, Jughead leaving a larger than necessary tip, giving the directions to her house to the driver. His hand was resting on her thigh, the placement making her wonder if there would be bruises on her skin where he had lifted her up earlier. He ran his hand over hers, holding her fingers in his. It was intimate, strangely more intimate than the act that they had carried out just hours before. She looked down at them and then back up at his face, trying to read his reactions. The buzz of the champagne and orgasm had worn off, leaving her wondering where this left them.

“What are you doing next weekend?” Jughead asked her suddenly, turning to meet her gaze.

“No plans as of yet,” she replied, flirting with him. She saw his eyes warm at her tone.

“Will you attend a business dinner with me Friday night? I need to bring a date,” Jughead turned to her, the hand back on her thigh squeezing slightly. She nodded slightly shocked. “I’ll call you with the details, but it should be fairly normal. Dinner party attire, home by ten.” She nodded again and looked out the window, feeling for some reason like this was moving towards something other than just a casual coat room fuck.

The car pulled up to the front of the house and Jughead paused her hand on the door, giving her a dark look that made her electric all over again. He slid even closer to her, the welcomed smell of his cologne assaulting her again, so close that she could see the curve of his eyelashes against his baby blues. He hand on her thigh travelled up her waist, over the sensitive skin of her arm and came to her face softly. She couldn’t help but lean into his touch.

He took her face in his palms, one hand sliding back to grip her neck, and kissed her tenderly. She melted into him, gripping the lapels on his jacket and pulling him closer.

He pulled away and smiled at her, beginning small and spreading across his face until she couldn’t help but match it.

“I’ll see you Friday?” he whispered.

“Friday,” she affirmed.

Chapter Text

She tried to push through her memories and distinguish when she had finally realized she was attracted to him. It had to have been after she graduated from high school, maybe even a year or more after. Before then, it was too inappropriate in her head to even consider.

She knew that she had realized her attraction to him well after the first dinner at the Lodges, when she couldn’t help but blush under his gaze and notice how the front tendrils of his hair fell perfectly over his gorgeous blue eyes.

Maybe she hadn’t grasped how much power he had over her until later. Until after the meal at the Lodges. Until after she had seen him at the first annual gala she went to, when she had realized that he was incredibly attractive, his sex appeal alluring her in ways she didn’t yet register. He had greeted her with a kiss to the hand, sending a flush down her back.

It was during her first and second years of college that her family had started inviting her to attend important social events with them, her sister having forgone them to be with her family. It would have been inappropriate for Betty to attend at sixteen, but somehow at nineteen and twenty, she was perfectly acceptable. She’d seen glimpses of him here and there, greeting him occasionally and other times being swept up in other conversations and engagements, somehow always being aware of his presence and location in the room, the electricity between them palpable to her.

She was definitely irrevocably attracted to him after the second gala, when he had greeted her with a kiss on the cheek, so much more intimate than a kiss to the hand. The feeling of his lips against her skin was white hot and left her reeling for weeks. It was difficult to distinguish when it changed, when it when from an attraction to feeling like putty in his presence. Perhaps around the time that he started licking between her thighs and biting love marks onto her neck. The thought made her shiver with desire, the heat pooling in her stomach. 

While her attraction was hard to place, their affair had started semi-abruptly and certainly all in one moment. She had offered to run some papers for a professor, delivering invitations to a business school luncheon. The task had taken her through the halls of the university, past the cubicles of some government employees, and into the business offices of City Hall. She took care in the assignment, holding the think white envelopes with care, presenting herself as kindly and professionally as she could. She loved a good excuse to visit all these offices as well, to explore the rooms and hallways looking for certain individuals. 

She remembers it through rose tinted lenses now, a meet cute of Hollywood proportions. The moment that she visited them stands out in her mind as a singular event that encompasses all the others. She had nervously knocked on the heavy mahogany door of his office, the one that said "J. Jones" on the front and entered to see him sitting behind a big desk and piles upon piles of papers. The smell of the office, the heady aftershave, the old wood, the tobacco she later found out he smoked occasionally when the mood struck him, the smell of the rum she now knew he only drank for appearances. The scent that was so familiar to her now, even the thought of it sprouted goosebumps on her skin. 

“Elizabeth Cooper,” Jughead Jones said, the surprise evident in his voice as their eyes met, “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I have an invitation for you from Professor Waddell,” she said shyly, holding the heavy envelope in front of her. He looked surprised, but he reached out to take it from her hand nonetheless. Their fingers brushed, sending shivers down her spine. “For a luncheon sponsored by the business school honoring Riverdale entrepreneurs and business owners.”

He looked at the envelope and tossed it onto his desk, leaning forward and looking at her. She stood awkwardly for a moment, wondering if he was going to say anything else to her. She rocked back and forth on her feet for a moment. 

“Sit. Can I get you anything?” Jughead asked, setting his pen down and gesturing to the big arm chair in front of his desk. “Coffee, tea?”

“Tea would be great,” she perked up at the thought of a warm drink, taking a seat in the soft leather chair and planting the pile of envelopes on her lap.

“Is Earl Gray okay?” he asked, picking up the hot water thermos and pouring her some over a teabag that he had taken from a neat little box. "Cream, sugar?"

“A little bit of sugar. Perfect,” she said, looking curiously around at this office, noticing the precariously stacked piles of papers that were overtaking his desk. They looked like they’d been there for months. “How long have you been in this office?”

She watched his body move under his navy-blue suit as he held the teacup out for her. She took it gratefully and sighed contentedly; the buildings were extra cold at the height of February and a warm cup of tea would hit the spot.

“Nearly a year,” he replied sheepishly, attempting to clear space on his desk. She couldn’t decide if she interpreted this as embarrassment of appearances or him trying to impress her. She thought it was endearing either way. “I’m surprised you haven’t been in here yet.”

“Well,” she laughed, “I’m not exactly up here that frequently. There isn't really a good excuse for me to come gallivanting around the business offices.”

“I suppose that’s true,” he said with a chuckle.

“You know, I can help you… with all the papers,” Betty said before she realized it. Her eyes widened at how upfront she was being, inviting herself over to do something as intimate as it is. It's something a secretary should do, but in that moment, she wants nothing more than to help him, to impress him, to have an excuse to be close to him. She could hear her heart thumping in her chest; she wondered wildly if he could hear it too and then shook the thought out of her head quickly.

“I could never ask you to do that,” Jughead rolled his eyes and laughed, running his hand through his hair in what she recognized as a nervous tic. She liked making him laugh, she realized next. “I should really just hire an assistant.”

“I can do it,” she said brightly, eager to please him, “I’d be happy to help.”

A few minutes and some very impressive groveling later, he was convinced.

The next day, she came in to help him organize, trying to convince herself that the extra time she’d spent doing her hair and makeup and picking out her outfit was purely coincidental. They chatted about his business (which she still didn’t fully understand) and her family, her classes and his favorite movies. Her crush had intensified and she found herself wondering if he felt the electricity that she did, the shivers whenever their hands touched, if he could how the smell of his aftershave made her stomach clench.

She’d come in the next week too, pretending that she hadn’t finished all the work. The week after that, she’d just come for a cup of coffee. She came two weeks after that, and the week after that, and then Spring Break had come. They’d become friends, the regular routine of her visits becoming normal.

She came in on a day of Break that she didn’t have class, flushed from the cold, eager to see him and not even caring that she didn’t have an excuse. She’d been shocked to see his face conveying his stress plainly, his shoulder tense, his head in his hands, his brow furrowed in frustration, the pile of papers sky-high again. An angry looking man walked out of the office as she walked in.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, his tense voice matching his posture.

“I’m… I just came to say hi,” she replied aggressively, her eyes instantly filling with hurt tears at his dismissal. He didn't want her here, she realized in a moment. “But I’ll go.” She spun on her heels and wiped her face quickly, grabbing the doorknob as his voice interrupted her thoughts.

“No, no, no,” he backtracked, getting up quickly and crossing the room to her. She could tell instantly that he hadn’t meant to sound so angry with her. The thought of him being upset with her turned her stomach, but it was soothed when he looked her in the eye from a few feet away, his hands in his pockets. “I’m sorry, I’m happy you’re here… I’m not… I’m…”

He took another couple steps towards her. His face was so close that she could see every freckle on his nose, how his lips were slightly wet where he’d licked them, how shiny the curl of hair in front of his eyes was. The thought of wanting to kiss him until he forgot about whatever bad day he was having was overwhelming, but he moved before she had the chance to act on it.

He kissed her hard, taking her face in his palms and pressing his lips against hers. She’d gasped before wrapping her arms around his neck and melting into him, running her fingers through his hair and pulling him closer.

It was so wrong, kissing him, pressing her body up against him in his office while the whole world was unaware of what was happening inside. There was heat growing inside her, coiling at the pit of her stomach and moving up her spine in shivers that overtook her more and more with each passing moment. She wondered how old he was, if he knew how old she was. She wanted to know all of the details about him, his birthday, his favorite color, what kind of car he drove. She had no idea what he did for a living. She kissed him harder, trying to convey her feelings for him in her movements. 

“I can’t do this anymore,” he whispered against her lips, her heartbeat quickening, her core tightening, “I can’t pretend like I don’t think about kissing you every moment you spend in here.”

“Jughead, I-” she gasped before he cut her off again. The time had ended with her cumming on his desk, leaned back with her skirt pulled up while he licked between her legs. She blushed at the memory and tried to ignore how antsy and horny she was feeling as she applied blush to the apples of her cheeks.

Now, he was taking her out and she was trying to decide if she would consider it a date.

Certain signs pointing to it being a date. He was picking her up, presumably in his car. They were going somewhere public, to a private dining room at an upscale restaurant in downtown Riverdale, a place she'd never gone to before but that she'd heard was one of the priciest in town, especially when renting out the back room. He had even called her his date, but that didn't always mean that it was a true date, a representation of any romantic feelings. Sexual feelings, maybe, but not romantic.

She scrolled through the garments in her closet as she pondered through the logistics.

Her parents were out tonight, visiting her aunt and uncle a few towns over, allowing her to spend all the time in the world listening to records and perfecting her hair. The rituals made her nostalgic for a younger time, of proms and cheerleading uniforms, and she wondered what her sixteen-year-old self would think of her now, primping herself to go out with a man that she had no romantic relationship with but was nonetheless sleeping with. She pushed the thought out of her head when shame resurfaces. She was enjoying herself, this was a happy day, and she wasn't going to let her overactive mind ruin it. 

Was it really nothing more than sex, than convenience? He had been kind and thoughtful last week, taking her to Pop’s after the gala when her tipsy stomach had rumbled, making sure that she got home safe when she had wanted to stay later. He had called her beautiful and held her tight, holding her hand and placing his fingers at the small of her back. He always made sure that she came first and last, sandwiching his own orgasm in the middle of her pleasure. It always seemed like it was about her, even when he was controlling the situation dominantly, he was doing it for her. He read the little signs of her breaths and the way she moved, making each of his own movements intentionally to get her to new heights. The thought of his touch, the feeling of his fingers on her skin, made her stomach flutter, a feeling she couldn’t escape when it came to him.

She held up a baby pink dress on a hanger before placing it back on the closet rod, deciding she wanted something that would tempt him a little bit, make her look at little older and more mature.

It wasn’t the easiest task, trying to ignore the arousal between her legs at the thought of seeing him all dressed up again. Her mind wandered to what his reaction would be to seeing her all dressed up. She wondered why it excited her so much, the thought of dressing up for him.

She finally decided on a sleeveless emerald green dress. The crisscross fabric on the bodice pulled her breasts up in the perfect way and she couldn’t help but give a content smile as she spun slightly in from of the mirror. The horizontal bands of ruching above the hip and tea length skirt hit her at a spot that made her look just a little bit taller and her waist just a little bit smaller. She had to admit that she felt pretty confident. She pulled on a light coat on top, hoping that both it and the dress would end up on the floor later as he fucked her silly in her childhood bedroom. 

A pair of peep toe sling backs, pearl stud earrings, and a matching clutch later and she was ready to go. Ten minutes early as usual, she realized as she checked the clock on her bedside table. What on earth was she going to do for the next ten minutes? She debated making herself a drink but decided against it, wanting to be completely lucid and in control around Jughead’s colleagues, or clients, or whatever particular relation he had to them. Instead, she busied herself with picking up around her already spotless room and the downstairs area, periodically checking for the car lights outside her window.

Thinking of him, she wondered what he'd be wearing. A suit? A tux? She hoped she was dressed correctly, but she figured she was. She thought of his shoulders underneath his jacket at the gala last week, how he looked with his shirt sleeves rolled up while they sat at Pop's. How heavy his lids had been after he came inside her. She could feel herself dampen and had to shake herself out of her, assuring herself that she'd get what she wanted in a few hours when the dinner was over. 

After what seemed like an eternity later, there were lights outside her front door and she eagerly rushed out to see Jughead Jones, leaning against his car door as usual. It wasn’t his black town car of last week; it was a smaller, sportier car in a dark blue color. No driver this time either. It gave her dirty ideas of sitting in the back of his car. 

“You’re a vision, Betty Cooper,” he said to her, his grin completely engulfing his features. She grinned back and walked towards him, teetering slightly on her shoes and hoping that she looked sexy. The darkening of his eyes told her that she did, and she happily accepted the attention as she reached him. He kissed her on the cheek and pulled the passenger door open for her. Then he whispered more quietly, intimately, in her ear, “You look beautiful.”

“Thanks, Juggy,” she replied, enjoying his playfully questioning eyebrow raise at the nickname.

“Oh?” he chuckled, holding the door open in a moment of pause. 

“I think it’s cute,” she clarified, raising her eyebrows as a challenge. She had called him it before, in the throes of desire, when she was just about to reach the peak of pleasure, but it was different, calling him it now, when they were platonically attending a business dinner together. 

“Whatever you say, darling,” he said, closing the door after she sat.

He started the car and reached out to hold her hand, intertwining their fingers when he wasn’t shifting gears. They drove through the different neighborhoods as she pointed out different spots from her childhood, trying to fill the awkward silence as they drove along. He seemed nervous, tapping his hand on the steering wheel and taking deep breaths like he was trying to slow his racing heartbeat. She knew the feeling.

They drove past loads of old sites from her childhood. The corner where a kid from her kindergarten class broke his arm. The ice cream shop that her dad took her to when her sister was in the hospital with appendicitis. The church where her parents got married, where they always attended the Easter picnic. The parking lot that turned into a Christmas tree emporium where they’d always bought their family trees.

“We got our Christmas trees somewhere else,” Jughead interjected, “when we had them anyways.”

“Where’d you go?” she asked curiously, “I thought this was basically the only place to go in Northside.”

“I didn’t really grow up here,” he admitted. “A few of my best friends lived here growing up, so I know my way around, but I’m a Southside kid, born and raised.”

“I didn’t know that,” she said.

“Well, now you do,” he said, kissing the back of her hand as he wound their fingers together again.

The rest of the trip fell silent, his hand pulling away to focus on shifting gears as they entered the busier portion of downtown.

Betty couldn’t help but ponder on his admission. Did most people know where he was from? He was at all the Northside events most of the time. People were generally very hesitant to trust anyone from the South Side, stereotyping them as gang members and gun runners, dope addicts and reefer dealers. It was something residual from the town’s raucous era of prohibition. She turned to look at him and couldn’t picture him being either one, but wondered if it would even change her attraction to him.

They pulled up to the restaurant, an establishment Betty had never been to. It looked fancy from the outside, green awnings embossed with thick, gold cursive words. She didn’t bother reading them and instead focused on Jughead’s demeanor. He tossed his keys to the valet with a nod of the head and opened the door for her. They quickly checked in with the maître d’ who lead them through a pair of red velvet curtains and into the private dining room at the back.

The twelve person table was already filled with glasses of wine and four couples made up of four men and four women. The men rose at Jughead’s entrance and Betty paid special rapt attention to the introductions, taking care to remember everyone’s names as she shook their hand or accepted their kiss.

“This is Elizabeth Cooper,” Jughead introduced her without a clarifier. She found herself wishing that he had introduced her in a way that would explain to her what their relationship actually was. He didn’t say “my date.” He didn’t say, “my friend’s kid.” He didn’t say anything, just Elizabeth Cooper. She noticed, but she supposed that she noticed everything about him. 

She sat down nervously in her seat that he had pulled out for her, pulling her napkin into her lap and taking a small sip of the wine he had poured her. He gave her a reassuring smile and a small squeeze on her thigh before one of the wives, a blonde woman named Peggy, started a conversation with her.

“Betty, dear, what do you do?”

Betty had to decide on the fly whether or not she was going to lie. On one hand, these women probably hadn’t attended college. On the other hand, admitting she was college age made her look younger. She could say that she worked, which was partly true, or that she was a homemaker, also partly true with her increasingly absent mother, but she eventually decided to tell the truth.

“I’m finishing up my last semester at University with a degree in Journalism,” Betty replied, smiling gratefully that the conversation was beginning without any awkwardness from her end, praying that she didn’t look too young.

“And how are you two acquainted? We hear that you must be quite the special lady to capture the affections of one J. Jones,” the woman teased conversationally.

“Old family friends,” Betty replied smoothly and decided to throw in a little bit of self-deprecation for good measure, “but I’m nothing special, just a great conversationalist.”

The woman laughed a polite amount before a man, Gerald, jumped into the conversation.

“Did I hear someone say journalism? Fascinating subject, I was with Parker over at the Mercury the other day and he said the most interesting thing…”

The rest of the evening went smoothly without a hitch. She sipped her wine slowly, eager not to make a fool out of herself on what could be considered their first date or at any rate, was a dinner that Jughead was obviously nervous about. The conversation flowed around her. She tried to answer questions eloquently and smartly, with the right amount of intelligence and demureness.

Jughead ordered for the two of them, the steak and vegetables for him and the salmon and potatoes for her.

“If you don’t like what I ordered for, we can switch,” he whispered in her ear with a small smile. “These people tend to be pretty traditional and they’re one of my biggest clients.”

“The fish is fine,” she replied, looking up at him as he pulled away, looking down shyly at his tie, trying to avoid his eye contact.

“You’re amazing, by the way,” he said softly. The affection in his eyes was overwhelming her as his approving words warmed her from the inside out.

“It’s an easy task,” she teased, feeling emboldened by her first glass of red wine and his praise, “Eat delicious food, converse with interesting people, and sit next to a devilishly handsome man.”

He grinned and bit his lip at her tone as the food arrived. She ate quietly, remembering all her etiquette from charm school.

She watched him slowly, wondering what he was thinking as he talked in hushed tones with the man to his right. Why did he bring me? she wondered curiously. The thought occurred to her that she was readily available at his beck and call. Anytime that he wanted her, she was there. This event could very easily have been the same situation. Low effort, low commitment. He was guaranteed to get laid at the end. The thought furrowed her brow and she pushed her potatoes around for a moment before her name in the conversation made her head pop up.

“Do keep Elizabeth around, Mr. Jones,” one of the women pleaded. “She’d make a terribly wonderful addition to these little gatherings we have here.”

“I’m sure you will see her again during the Holidays, Margaret,” he chuckled, putting his arm casually around the back of Betty’s chair as he continued his conversation about projections for the upcoming quarter. She turned and looked at him, entirely confused at the seemingly mixed signals that he was giving.

All too soon and not soon enough, the dinner was over, dessert having been served and the bottles of wine polished off. Jughead was kissing the women on the cheeks and shaking hands with the men as Betty stood, feeling semi-awkward but grateful that she had put effort into learning everyone’s names as they said good bye. They all made her promise that she'd be back, or that she'd attend this event with him next week. She stuttered her uncertain reply, praying that she didn't sound rude while also trying very intently not to lie. 

In what seemed like a fast moment, the previously bustling dining room was empty, leaving the two of them entirely alone. He reached for her coat, pulling it onto her shoulders and pressing a soft kiss to her neck. She sighed with pleasure and then with frustration as he held the curtain to the side for her, chuckling as she walked out flustered. The need that she'd had for him all night had been growing steadily and she felt about ready to pounce.

He grabbed her hand as she walked outside and waited for his car to be pulled around. Her hand felt impossibly small in his, the rough skin of his fingers leading her towards the car door again.

She couldn’t help but wonder why she was here. It had gone well, she thought, but who could really tell? She was able to talk current events and politics, contribute to the conversation about the most recent movies and the latest hosting trend. She wondered why Jughead didn’t host the parties at his house, but had liked the food. Nobody had spilled any wine. There hadn't been very many awkward lulls. The toast, delivered by Jughead, was satisfactory. Why had he been so nervous? It seemed like it went pretty averagely. 

They got in the car and he turned on the radio, sitting in silence as he drove back to her house and pulled to a stop in front of the sidewalk. Her mind raced to her bedroom upstairs as he parked the car and turned towards her suddenly, taking his hands in her own.

She waited for him to speak. He kept opening his mouth like he was going to say something and closing it again.

“Are you okay?” she questioned. He reached up and held her face in one of his hands.

“I want you to know that I appreciate you attending this with me, Betts,” he said, running his thumb along her cheek. She leaned into his touch, her heart racing. He ran his thumb over her bottom lip. “I’m so proud of how intelligent and charismatic you are.”

“Thank you,” she smiled back, her heart glowing at his words. She wondered what the change had been, normally these words were saved for after sex.

“Plus, you are a total knockout,” he said, running his eyes up and down her body, his gaze lingering on her cleavage before he kissed her giggling lips softly.

“I wore it especially for you,” she admitted, looking down at the pooled green fabric against the tan leather of the seats. He smiled, running his fingers down the side of her waist. She couldn’t tell if he was touching to feel the fabric or the curve of her hip. She watched his hand trail off and then looked back up at his eyes. “I imagined what your reaction would be about a thousand times.”

“I hope I met all your wildest expectations,” he teased.

“I suppose,” she giggled, leaning in to kiss him again, the nerves coming back full force. “Thank you for letting me come with you. I know you probably just needed to bring someone but I’m glad that it was me.”

She had said it, voiced her fear: that while she was falling deeper and deeper, he was using her out of convenience. His date, his sexual outlet. It hurt, to verbalize it, but it was better to get his confirmation now so that she could slowly back away than it was to wait any longer.

“I picked you for a reason, Betty,” he said, his voice slightly stern as he tilted her head up to meet his eyes, “I don’t want you thinking that this was just something random. I chose you because you’re... special.”

She bit back a smile, her anxiety placated for a short moment before it resurfaced, and she leaned in to kiss him again, eager for a distraction and some relief from the itch that she'd been wanting to scratch all night. 

“You can come in for a nightcap if you’d like,” she said softly against his lips, in what she hoped was a seductive tone. 

“I’m sorry, darling,” he whispered back, “I’ll have to take a rain check.”

Her heart sank and her arousal dissipated immediately. Was he really turning down sex? she thought to herself frantically. This had to be a bad sign, that the only thing she was offering him was something he didn’t even want any more. 

“I have a full weekend of work and you are too distracting for my own good,” he chuckled as he kissed her pulse point on her neck, pulling the skin in between his teeth and eliciting a gasp from her pouted mouth.

“Oh,” she muttered, her heart plummeting, hoping that he couldn't hear the disappointment in her voice, “That’s fine.”

“I’ll make it up to you, all right?” he assured, her face in his hands again. She nodded with a disappointed smile as he kissed her once more and let him walk her to her door, chastely pressing a kiss to her forehead and waving goodbye as he pulled away.

Chapter Text

She hadn’t meant to be such a typical college student.

She wondered how many times a girl like her had been in a clichéd position such as this one. Veronica and Archie had insisted that she attend a party thrown by one of Archie’s old fraternity brothers and suddenly she’d found herself very drunk and very alone in the basement of some random man’s house.

She was angry. Angry that Jughead hadn’t called her all week. It was Friday and she hadn’t heard from him since Saturday, the day after he took her to his work dinner and told her that she was special and turned her down. It felt like the world that she knew was dissolving into something stupid, another thing that she couldn't control and another thing she was messing up. 

So she didn’t turn down that first whisky and coke when Archie offered it and stated that it was her duty since he was keeping his wits about him to drive the two girls home at the end of the night. She didn’t turn down the second either, when Veronica insisted she needed a refill. Or the third when the bottle itself called her name from across the room.

It wasn’t a good habit. It wasn’t a healthy habit. But she tried to justify it to herself by saying that this wasn’t a habit. This was a one-time thing.

Sleeping with Jughead? That was a habit. That was a habit that she had no hopes of quitting cold turkey, or quitting at all for that matter, except for the fact that it seemed he wanted to quick her.

This, a bad habit? This was nothing but a mere bit of fun.

The music changed and some atrociously corny pop song began blaring from the stereo, eliciting a round of cheers from the raucous group but doing nothing to aid the pounding that was growing behind Betty’s temples. The thirst for water was rising at an alarming pace. She groaned and rolled her neck, surprised at how dizzy the action made her, vowing to keep her head upright and straight for the time being.

She needed to get out of here.

Searching the room for Veronica and Archie left her fruitless and slightly desperate. Best case scenario, they’d snuck off somewhere to make out or whatever else. That left her with a likelihood of getting a ride home at some point, but not for a while. She had taken her watch off while getting ready and cursed the fact that she had no bearing on time. She looked for a familiar face among the crowds and found none.

Instead, she found a phone.

“Excuse me,” she said, interjecting herself into the conversation of the girl speaking into the receiver, “I need to use the phone.”

The girl rolled her eyes in response.

“Hello?” Betty said, her voice taking on a harsher tone.

“Wait your turn,” the snotty redheaded girl replied with yet another eye roll. Fed up, Betty pressed her finger against the hook until she could hear the dull dial-tone. The look on the girl’s face that told Betty that her mission was successful.

“Oops, it’s my turn,” Betty said triumphantly as she took the phone from the girls hand and sat down on the floral chair next to it, the short line letting her escape only so far. She dialed Jughead’s number quickly and waited for him to pick up. The thought of getting to talk to him made her giddy and she found herself slipping into bouncing excitement, her previous plights dissolving into puppy love.

“Hello?” his voice answered sleepily from the other side.

“This is… ” she started formally but it dissolved quickly into giggles. “Hi, is your refrigerator running?”

“What the hell?” She heard rustling in the background.

“It’s Betty,” she clarified.

“What time is it?” he asked groggily.

“I couldn’t for the life of me tell you,” she giggled with a hiccup. The sound of his voice made her dizzy. Or was that the alcohol? She hoped she remembered all of this in the morning.

“Are you okay?” he sighed.

“Yes, I’ve just had a little bit to drink.”

“Oh God, where are you?”

“912 Birch Street. Reggie’s house.”

“I’m coming to get you,” he said with an even larger sigh.

“I—“

“Shut up, Betty,” he said in a way that made her sure he wasn’t mad, “What am I supposed to do, leave you there?"

"It's not your... your job to save me."

"Who’d you go with?”

“Archie and Veronica.”

“And where are they?”

“I don’t know,” her voice trembled.

“And do you know anyone else there?”

She paused, ashamed of her answer, hot tears springing to her eyes. Why did she do this?

“No,” she admitted, her voice thick. He sighed yet again and her heart broke, hoping he wasn’t disappointed in her.  

“I’ll see you soon, wait outside for me as long as it’s safe, all right? Be safe, you hear me? Okay good—“

“Juggy?” Betty interrupted before he hung up.

“Yes?”

“I didn’t dance with any men,” she vowed softly.

“Okay, beautiful,” he chuckled on the other end, a welcome sound to her worried mind, “I’ll see you soon.”

Thirty minutes later she was seated in the front of his car, pulling fries from a Pop’s to-go container and listening to the radio. She turned to look at him as he took a sip of his coffee.

Coffee at this hour. The car’s clock told her it was 1:37 am.

“I’m sorry again,” she said, her cheeks flushing with her embarrassment.

“It’s fine, I already told you that,” he replied shortly, his voice tender.

"I'm still sorry."

"And it's still fine," he chuckled.

She found herself staring at him, torn because it tore her up inside to think that he didn't want her and yet still drawn to the angle of his chin, the slight smile lines around his eyes, the errant hairs in his eyebrows, the flecks of dark navy blue in his eyes.

She was so attracted to him that it hurt her, it physically hurt her. The thought that he didn't return it made her eyes swell with tears again. Her demeaning thoughts for herself ran through her head at a thousand miles a minute.

He looked at her curiously sideways, “This isn’t like you, is it?”

"What?"

"The whole... alcohol thing."

She looked down at her food and shook her head, willing the wetness in her eyes away, “I’ve done this maybe once in my life.”

“Why tonight then?”

“I…” her voice faltered, “Honestly?”

“Honesty is appreciated, yes,” he said, clearly amused.

“I was mad that you didn’t call all week,” she admitted sadly. He laughed out loud and she felt even worse. “I’m serious, and you didn't want to come… I was just upset and letting loose felt like the thing that you’re supposed to do.”

“And how did that end for you?” he asked her thoughtfully.

“Well, I’m with you so it didn’t end half-bad,” she joked. He nodded his head and took another gulp from his coffee. He drank it instant and black.

The sight of his lips against something made her stomach churn and the idea of him with another woman flashed through her brain, the amalgam mystery goddess that her brain created was draped across his desk, begging from another kiss from him and he gave it to her, passionately and wantonly. The alcohol was making her brain and her judgment equally fuzzy. 

Betty felt herself being lost to the nightmare of that situation and spoke before she had time to think.

“Am I not good enough for you anymore?” She asked suddenly.

“What?” he asked incredulously, turning to her in disbelief.

“You haven’t even tried to have sex with me, in… in months!” she hiccupped. Maybe it was a slight exaggeration but she didn’t care. The constant of his presence in her weeks made it feel like weeks. A thought occurred to her. “Oh my goodness, you’re completely not attracted to me!”

Jughead couldn’t help from laugh, dropping Betty’s jaws in outrage.

“Do not laugh at me, Jughead Jones!” she exclaimed, pointing her finger in what she hoped was a menacing manner. It was slightly diminished by the amount of French fry grease on her fingers.

“You would be very wrong about that,” he said, his eyebrows raised playfully. “I am very, very attracted to you.”

“Well then what the hell’s your problem?” she said bluntly, the venom behind her words surprising her. “You… you turned me down and then didn’t even call all week. You weren’t in your office. I asked Bobby where you were and he had nothing of any value to contribute.”

She glared at him. He looked at her with an expression that was impossible to read.

"Are you ready to hear the honest answer?" he asked, hesitancy and uncertainty seeping into his voice. It didn't sound like him at all. 

"Honesty is appreciated, yes," she mimicked him. 

He turned to face her and clasped his hands on her lap. 

“I have developed… very strong feelings for you, Elizabeth Cooper,” he admitted, looking up to meet her eyes.

Whatever she had been expecting, that wasn't it. The conversation was clearly taking a very different turn. 

“What?” she stuttered incredulously. 

“I want you to know this,” he insisted, “You need to hear this.”

He took a deep breath.

“I have feelings for you. More than I just want to... have you against a wall kind of feelings,” he chuckled, “The kind of feelings that make a guy want to take a gal out for a proper date.” He checked to see that she was still listening. “You are… special."

"You think?" 

"I know. You’re smart as a whip, quick-witted, passionate, good-hearted. You care and you want to do a good job just because you're a good person. I could go on. I have been looking for... a long time for someone like you. And you’re gorgeous to boot.”

“Uh… and that means… what exactly?” she asked as her heartbeat quickened, the feeling of premonition entering her system like a freight train. 

"Are you sure you're ready to hear this?"

She paused then spoke. "Yes." 

“I’m in love with you, Betty,” he said, his eyes meeting hers as their fingers touched in her lap.

“Oh,” she replied, her mouth taking the shape of the word.

“Oh? That’s all you have to say?”

“Well, I don’t know!” she exclaimed.

"You don't know," he repeated, his eyes full of laughter.

“What are you even saying? You want to date me?”

"Not quite," he chuckled.

"So I'm still just a plaything to you," she accused. 

"Not nearly as serious as I'm thinking."

Her heart sped up again. "Serious?"

“I... I want to marry you, Betty,” he said seriously again, their eyes meeting.

Her jaw dropped more quickly than she ever imagined was possible as she looked at him, realizing that he was one hundred percent genuine.

“What?” she managed to stutter out.

“We should get married,” he said again.

The alcohol hit her like a freight train and her head lulled forwards.

“Oh, God, I need to go home,” she said from between her knees.

“All right, all right,” he said, pulling the car forward a few blocks until they reached her house.

“Are your parent’s home?”

“No, visiting my aunt and uncle.”

He came around to her side of the car and helped her up, leaning her weight into him and almost taking a tumble across the brick of her entryway path.

Her head was reeling and his cologne was heavy in her senses, the smell of his proximity pooling heat at her core. 

“Jughead Jones,” she slurred as she tried to focus on putting one foot in front of the other in a fashion that distantly resembled walking and pressed up against the front door to unlock it, “You’re mean. You know that?”

"Oh yeah?" he snickered as he held onto the small of her back, his other elbow leaned against the door frame.

"Just out of the blue, no ring, no sex, just an I want to marry you. That's mean," she muttered to herself, half under her breath as she stumbled from exhaustion and booze and nearly tripped on the front step into the hallway. 

“All right, all right,” he said gently, picking her up like she weighed nothing and carrying her up the stairs, closing the door gently behind him. “Let’s get you into bed before you do some serious damage to yourself.”

“No, you’re mean,” she repeated herself, pointing her finger at the face that was inches away from hers, “You can’t say things like that and expect me to swoon. We've been on one date... and it wasn't even a real date. You didn't even call it a date. How am I going to marry you? What would my parents think?”

He picked off her shoes and tucked her into her soft bed in her pastel pink room without a word but placed a kiss to her forehead, leaving her body to burn off the alcohol and deal with the hangover.

Chapter Text

Betty woke up feeling like she got hit by a truck. A very large truck with a very rude driver who had no pity on her body or her spirits.

The light streaming through the curtained windows felt like torture of the worst degree. 

Betty covered her head with a pillow and willed herself to fall back asleep. 


Two hours and a shower later, Betty had returned slightly to the land of the living.

But even a hangover wouldn't stop Betty Cooper from overthinking the situation.

There were the facts: she had gotten too drunk, misplaced her friends, and made Jughead come pick her up to take her home. 

The rest of the details were foggy, muddled beneath layers of whiskey and assumptions and fogginess that she couldn't work through no matter how hard she tried. There were bits of memories floating around within the swirly feelings in her head but they got swirlier with each passing moment as her stomach protesting her thinking. She ignored the signs and focused on remembering. The sound of some awful Patti Page song rang in her head.

The more she focused, the more she remembered. Dancing with Veronica. Taking another drink from Archie's sweaty hand. A girl she went to high school with necking in a dark corner. The smell of Jughead's cologne, weak and diluted. She remembered the feeling of anger, the selfish desire to state her opinion as rudely as she could, pulsing through her veins. She felt the bitter taste in her mouth and felt ashamed at not knowing what she really did last night, unable to distinguish reality from fantasy. Some other memories were so absurd that it seemed unlikely they were real and shame flushed her face. 

She thought hard and couldn't remember how she got into the house and into bed and it scared her. It scared her that she had flashes of anger like a distant dream and that the brunt recipient could have been Jughead, that he could be out there at this very moment, thinking of her and being disappointed.

A rush of overpowering and stifling heat slid down her spine, sweat instantly beading at the small of her back and she felt the overwhelming urge to be sick. Before she could stop herself, she was running up the stairs and slamming the door before she sank to her knees in front of the toilet and retched.

It was a low moment for Betty, incredibly hungover at 9:30 in the morning and totally alone in her upper-middle class home. There was no-one to fetch her a glass of water or offer to clean up the mess, no hand rubbing her back or whispering words in her ears. Her parents were gone, her best friend had abandoned her the night before, and the man that she was developing stronger and stronger feelings for with had left her to deal with it herself. She suddenly felt the unyielding yearning for her mother, for her soft voice and embrace. She felt like a little girl and fresh, emotional tears sprung, unwelcome, to her eyes. She surveyed the mess with watery eyes and her stomach dry-heaved again.

She finally flushed and sank down onto the floor with a disappointed sob. Disappointed in herself and how self destructive and stupid she could be sometimes. There had been good things going and she messed it up. She sat on the cold tile of the bathroom floor, her forehead on her knees, the unbearable band around her temples tightening  as the caustic feeling in her throat throat burned her nose and mouth. She slid the shirt and underwear she'd been wearing off, desperate to feel the cool breeze against her skin, to get rid of the sweaty shivers. She got up and brushed her teeth, splashing cold water on her face and forcing herself to take deep breaths to even the sobs that she hadn't realized she had been letting out.

Minutes later, she pulled the covers back over her head and let herself slip into darkness.  


She woke with a start.

Someone was knocking persistently at the front door. She jumped out of bed, her heart skipping a few beats and threw her white terrycloth robe, tying the front tightly as she rushed down the stairs towards the door.

On her tiptoes, she looked through the peephole to see Jughead Jones standing tall in all his glory, checking his watch and continuing to knock on the door. She smoothed her hair down consciously as she opened the door. 

"Hi," she said, shyly, surprised. He grinned at her.

"I thought you could use some sustenance," he said, a twinkle in his eye. The smell of bacon and eggs overcame her and her stomach growled in response. "Turns out I was right." 

He crossed over her threshold and she was struck with the contrast of him in her house. His thick leather jacket and the smell of pipe tobacco or cigarettes and cologne versus the light fragrance of the fresh tulips her mother had picked this week and the soft yellow color of their walls. He looked out of place, awkward, and she felt that she'd feel the same in his house, which she had a hard time picturing in her head. He caught her staring and she realized it with a blush, taking the togo bag from his outstretched hand and retreating sheepishly into the kitchen.

"Are you sure you don't want anything?" she asked, pulling a plate down from the cabinets to serve herself. It felt ironic to be eating greasy take-out food from her mother's fine china, but she somehow liked the contradiction nonetheless.

"I had two burgers before I came here," he said sheepishly. She looked at the clock and figured it wasn't bad for him to have eaten that much by noon. The thought of him chowing down made her giggle. It also made her wonder why he was always the one getting her food when he was always the hungry one. 

"You are a bottomless pit, Jughead Jones," she laughed, taking her seat at the table, crossing her leg under her. 

"Perhaps." 

He let her eat as he walked around, his hands shoved deep in the pockets of his jeans, surveying the room. 

"Who's this?" he asked, picking up a framed family photo from the top of the credenza. The perfect Cooper family, with their pressed shirts and sweater sets, smiling fakely for the camera. "This your sister?"

Betty's breath caught in her throat and she released it shakily.

"Yes," she replied, "My sister, Polly."

She must have looked sad at the mention of her estranged sister because he immediately backtracked away from the topic, giving his ample and unnecessary apologies.

"No, Jug, really it's fine-"

"Hey, I'm sorry, I didn't know and-"

"It's okay-"

"I-"

In that moment, he looked as she had felt hours before, crouched on the tiled floor of her bathroom. Small, defenseless, and lost. In a flash, she saw him as he must have been as a child, curious to the world and scared of what the possibilities could be, what dangers could lie in the unknown. She couldn't help but imagine his home again, wonder what his parents were like. There was so much she didn't know about him. How did he end up in the Northside when he grew up in the Southside?

In another moment, it was gone and his facade was back up. 

"It's fine, really," she said with what she hoped was a reassuring smile.

"Okay," he shrugged in a gesture that Betty took as trying to be nonchalant.

"My family is just sort of... screwy," she laughed. 

He smiled understandingly at her, a dark laughter in his eye, and put the photo back. He walked to the table, flipping the chair opposite from her and straddling it backward, leaning his arms against the chair back and watching her eat. 

"I'm sorry for last night," she said, looking down at her eggs as though they were the most interesting thing in the room. 

"I already told you a million times that it's fine," he said.

"I'm still sorry," she said softly. 

"It's still okay," he chuckled. "I don't think the acting out is typical for you."

"It's... the alcohol isn't."

"But... something else is?"

Her eyes jumped up, meeting his and she felt the urge to sink her nails into something. She could see flashes of her past before her eyes, of Polly's disappearance, of the darkness that threatened to consume her sometimes. It felt overwhelming back then, something that she'd pushed back for so long that it seemed foreign now. 

(Was her relationship an indicator of self-destruction too?)

"You don't know me that well," she admitted, her voice lowering, darkening. He didn't say anything in response. "There are things... some things that are very, very wrong with me." She was thinking thoughtfully through every word, her plate grabbing her attention again.

"What?" he asked softly, his voice pressing against its restraints.

"Sometimes... there's this darkness in me that's overwhelming." She looked up at him and he was looking at her thoughtfully, seriously, his brow furrowed deeply. "Sometimes I don't know where it comes from, but I think that's what makes me do things... get too drunk and you didn't know me in high school but there were other, other incidents."

She opened her hands out of instinct, the years old scars pressed into the soft skin of her palms in crescent shapes, like a reminder of past transgressions that was ever present in every action she took. The memento was in everything she wrote, all the words she pressed into her articles had to move passed the scars first. It was there when she scrubbed her skin raw, trying to get rid of the feelings of shame and guilt. She rubbed her palms against the fabric covering her arms to stop herself from closing them.

He looked down at her hands and up at her face, the lines at his brow deepening even further.

"I'm just really sorry about last night. I don't want people to see that side of me... least of all you." She swallowed hard and looked up to find him much closer.

He leaned over the table and lifted her chin with his finger, tilting her face up like a moth towards the flame.

"I want to see all sides of you, Elizabeth Cooper," he murmured. 

She could see every detail of his face from this distance and yet the inches between their lips felt like miles. She could see the smile lines at the corners of his mouth, the shallow lines on his lips, his cloudy eyes, the dark eyelashes, the slightly darkened under-eyes. He was so close that she could feel his breath on her lips. A shaky breath escaped her suddenly, in a small moan that sounded much more wanton than she wished it to.

"Tell me what you want," he breathed. 

She took a breath, shallow and wanting, exhaling his name. 

Their lips met and it felt like she skipped the warmth of spring to go straight to summer after a long winter, the heat on her face and the electricity on her mouth after months of cloudy skies and rain. He tasted like tobacco and cinnamon and fresh air and she wanted to breathe him in until all of her senses screamed his possession. 

She pushed her plate to the side, hoping it was far enough down the table that she didn't get a knee full of breakfast, desperate for their proximity and unwilling to let the searing kiss end, to lose this moment. She grabbed the back of his head and pulled herself up onto the table, crawling towards him across the wood surface. His hands clutched desperately in her hair, wrapping the blonde strands across his fingers and tugging her towards him persistently. 

She pressed herself against his mouth and he stood up, his hands gripping into her hips as she wrapped her legs around his waist. His mouth was insistent upon hers, focused on feeling and not technique, stimulation and not skill. Her knee bumped painfully against the chair back and he growled at her gasp against his mouth. She felt a flush of heat down to her core.

She liked to be hurt, she realized. She really liked to be hurt by him.

"You're perfect, Betty Cooper," he murmured against her lips, the interjection of pain barely off her lips.

"I hate that word," she moaned as he moved down her neck to suck her collarbone. 

He carried her upstairs frantically, a frenzied mess of movements, pressing her into walls, any surface that he could find to slam her against and get them closer to her bedroom. It should have hurt her back and left her tender, but it didn't; all she could feel was the electricity pulsing down her spine, how wet she was getting with passing each moment.

It started with a kiss and yet now it was this, her hands buried in his dark hair, the pale pink of her nail polish opposing the curls, her legs wrapped around him, her hungry mouth looked for his. Wasn't that how it always started with them?

She had no control over herself when it came to him. She wanted to rip his pants off with her teeth and ride him until it hurt. 

He kicked the door to her bedroom open and stumbled backwards onto the bed, her perfect pink bed with its fluffy white pillows and perfectly pressed quilt. She flattened herself on top of him, pressing into every delicious contact point, feeling how hard he was beneath her. She pulled back and straddled him, rubbing her core against him in deliberately cruel movements, watching as the veins in his neck pulsed and his hips ground against her subconsciously. 

She had lost any care for how desperate for him she looked. She had finally admitted to herself: she was desperate for him, desperate to feel his hands on her skin and his lips on her neck and him inside of her. She needed him and his touch like she needed air and water. She didn't need to stop; she needed to continue.

She wanted him to take her there, to forget all the ways that she didn't live up to the perfection, to forget all the ways that her brain told her that he didn't want her. 

She dropped her robe and her inhibitions, slipping the fabric slowly off her shoulders, the cloth moving across her skin as she met his eyes.

He responded with a growl deep in his throat that rumbled through his chest. He bit his lip and she found herself under him again. 

"Fuck, Betts," he said, settling his weight on top of her, their bodies fitting together like pieces of a puzzle. She spread her legs to let him settle more, tugging his jacket off his shoulders. He shrugged it off and it fell to the ground in a heap of metal and leather, another contrast against her environment. He was infiltrating every element of her life, slowly wiggling into her spaces and memories. She wonders if she'll be able to sleep here again without thinking of his hardness between her legs.

He dug his fingers into her hair and tugged hard enough to expose her neck, biting and sucking the skin. She gripped his face in her hands, pulling him closer, urging him on. 

In a moment of white-hot tenderness, Jughead turned his head and licked the scars on her palms and Betty thought it must be the most soothing and arousing thing he has ever done. He took his hands in hers, pressing her hands above her head, grinding the denim of his jeans over her wetness. Her arousal left a smear over his zipper.

"Juggy," she moaned, trying to wiggle free from his rough grasp. She wanted to run her hands under his tee shirt, feel his chest and his shoulders and run her nails along his skin. 

"Haven't I told you patience is a virtue?" he said as he bit her earlobe and undid his belt, wiggling his jeans off his legs. 

"Juggy, please," she begged, moving her hips to rub against him. 

"Will you be good for me?" he asked her neck. She nodded frantically, desperate for him to chase away the feelings of shame, desperate for his approval. His pupils expanded as they met hers and she felt a shiver move down her body. 

"Hands up," he growled and she obeyed, her hands snapping up to push against the headboard. She arched her back and presented herself to him, loving the way it sent a shiver down his spine, too. She could feel how much he needed her, and not just from his hardness against her, but from the way he was breathing, how his heart was beating. She hoped that he felt a fraction of what she was feeling. He snaked down her body, kissing and licked his way across her breasts, stopping to bite her nipples until she gasped.

Her breath hitched in her chest as he kissed over the sensitive patches on her stomach, across her bellybutton and down to the crease of her thighs, the skin screaming for his contact, for him to taste her skin. 

She was satisfied a moment later, when his tongue came to her center and he slid two fingers unexpectedly inside her. He teased her clit and pressed down on her hips. It was teasing, prompting; his goal was to make her squirm.

"Mine," he sighed. She wanted to run her fingers through his hair.  

"Yours," she gasped. He dug his fingers into her love handles and tugged her closer.

He came up to kiss her and a thrill shot down her spine at the thought of him tasting like her. 

She wondered if her lips had always been this sensitive. It felt like every square millimeter was filled with a thousand sharp nerve-endings. She felt infatuated, drugged by his kisses and his smell and his strong arms around her. She felt like falling into it, diving headfirst into the deep end of the pool, and never getting up.

He pulled her leg up onto his shoulder and lined himself up with her entrance, catching her off guard as he pushed inside suddenly.

"Betts, fuck, baby," he groaned, pushed her knee backwards towards her head and thrusting into her again and again. 

The hangover had returned to her, the pounding in her head matching the bruising movements of his hips into hers and she couldn't distinguish one rhythm from the other or either of those from the beat of her heart steadily against her ribs. It felt like she was living, all the cells in her body buzzing with energy. 

He was huge inside her, like the missing piece of a puzzle her brain had been trying to solve for her body. Him here, on top of her, inside her, holding her. It felt like heaven. Loving him was all she needed to feel. She wished she could tell him how right it felt. 

She watched his face. She arched her back and watched his eyes screw shut in pleasure. She moaned and he thrust into her harder. She bit her lip and he mirrored the gesture. 

The movements made it clear that she effecting him like he did her. The sound of his heartbeat when she rested her head against his chest. She wanted to run her nails down his back and mark him as hers. Her mind flashed to all the bruises he had left on her hips, the hickeys on her neck, the redness on her ass. 

For a moment she was thankful for the alcohol lingering in her system, for the mixed emotions and the heightened sensations, for how Jughead's presence which normally mad her dazed and giddy was positively dizzying. The smell of his cologne was warping her senses, the musk of their bodies overwhelmed by her associations with the fragrance. 

Why did this feel so different?

Every one of his movements felt like a kiss. His hand on her throat for a moment, then in another moment gripping her hip, pinching her nipple, teasing between her legs. He was everywhere and he was so in tune with what she needed it felt like she was dreaming. 

It was so different and so good, so good, so good. Those words repeated in her head again and again as he brought her closer. 

Instead of calling her names that made her panties wet, he was calling her names that made her heart flutter. Baby, he whispered into her folds. Beautiful, he muttered as she arched her back. His compliments weren't about her sexuality or her body; she felt like he was talking to her heart, her soul matching the rumbling in her chest. Her eyes trembled shut and he moaned her name.  

She had a flash of memory, of his unexpectedly tender confessions, but she was too far gone in the lust and too close to the edge to absorb what she was seeing in her mind's eye. Jughead in the front of his car, their hands intertwined, the feeling of dizziness.

She was close, getting closer and all she wanted was for him to feel like this, to send him up to heights. Something was swelling inside her chest and it matched what was swelling inside of her at her core. Something was moving inside of her, swimming closer to the surface. He was pushing into her, his face buried into her neck, her hip burning from the deep stretch, her breath uneven and shaky. She was close, getting closer, so close.

His words came to her and as she was teetering on the edge, the memory sent her over.  

Her body quivered of its own accord, pulsating against her as she felt him meet her and finish inside of her, stars exploding around her eyes as he fell against her neck, as spent as she felt. 

He rolled off of her and turned his head to look at her, his eyes brimming with tears. 


For the second time that day, she splashed cold water on her face and looked at herself in the mirror over the sink. 

There was a slight redness around her neck. 

Her nipples were sore.

She turned to look at her backside, the glaring red handprint standing out against her skin. 

A small smile snuck its way across her features.

She opened the door and picked her robe up off the floor, wrapping it nervously around herself, tying it tightly. He smiled tiredly at her from his position on the bed.

"C'mere," he said, holding his arm out to her.

She sat gingerly next to him on the bed and pulled her knees to her chest, surrounded with awkwardness at remembering what he'd said last night. 

"I said c'mere, silly," he laughed, putting his arm around her and pulling him into her chest. 

It was no longer insecurity that plagued her thoughts, but unsureness. 

She was unsure how to proceed, unsure how to deal with his confession. He wanted to marry her. Her mother had always said that men wouldn't date the girl who gave it up for nothing, yet here he was, holding her in his arms after she had definitely given it up, and he still wanted her. It made her feel all kinds of silly, the lust wearing off and leaving her with fuzzy brain and swings of emotion. 

He squeezed her shoulder and she leaned against his. He ran his fingers along her form, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her closer.

She felt paralyzed with the scent of him infiltrating her thoughts. 

"What's wrong?" he said, looking down at her with concerned eyes.

"I..." She couldn't find the words.

"Are you okay, Betts?" he asked, pulling back to meet her eyes. 

"I thought you were disappointed in me," she sniffled, burying her face firmly against the fabric of his undershirt. 

"Why on earth would you think that?"

"I... I woke up feeling awful. I barely remembered what happened last night and I made you deal with it."

He looked at her and licked his lips, his eyes flicking back up to hers. The motion made her breath quicken in her throat. 

"Do you remember now?"

"Yes," she breathed.

His lips were so close to hers down, but he placed a chaste kiss to hers and then pulled away. She felt empty without his lips pressing against hers. 

"Do you have plans on Saturday?" he asked.

She pulled back, surprised. "What?"

"Plans, Saturday?" he repeated, his eyes twinkling.

"No, not yet," she said, her brow furrowing. 

"I'm taking you on a date."

"Okay," she said with a smile, butterflies erupting in her stomach. 

"A real date," he said, his eyebrows waggling. 

"Okay!" she giggled. 

"I have to go," he said sheepishly, glancing at her bedside table clock. "Meetings and... just a lot to get done today." 

"Okay," she nodded shyly. She watched him as he pulled his clothes back on, his leather second skin melding to his shoulders and his belt around his waist, then walked him to the door.

"I'll see you Saturday?" he said, squeezing her hand as she leaned against the front door. 

"I'll see you," she affirmed, smiling and squeezing his hand back.

"I'll call this week too," he laughed, a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

"Good," she responded with a laugh and a blush. He kissed her cheek quickly and walked out to the... motorcycle in her driveway.

(Since when had he driven a motorcycle?) 

She closed the door and leaned her back against it, feeling happy and shaky and unsure all over again. 

Chapter Text

Riverdale was having a mild September and the leaves had just started to turn, to a golden yellow, to a crisp orange, to dark burnt red. Betty loved this time of year; they were having more crispy mornings and while she was busy with school and textbooks, she was desperate to get outside, itching for some fresh air and wide open spaces.

Another week of tests and term papers passed in a blur of no. 2 pencils and dictionaries, and all of a sudden Saturday was upon her.

It was a familiar sight, Betty Cooper sitting in front of her vanity mirror and getting ready for a time that she was going to see Jughead Jones. She had debated how to dress, fancier or more casual and had eventually settled on something like what she’d wear to class. A pink sweater with a crisp white shirt underneath and a knee length brown skirt. She clasped her pearl earrings, a sixteenth birthday gift from her mother, on her ears and attempted to smooth her ponytail to no avail.

She puckered her lips just slightly and applied Pink Perfection, trying not to think of Jughead's lips on hers or about his head between her thighs, but the more she tried, the more she failed, the soon her thoughts were consumed entirely by him.

They hadn’t talked all week, except when he told her that he would pick her up just after lunch on Saturday, and she was starting to feel the itch that she always felt when she was without him for too long. The first time she had felt it made her feel gross and shameful. She thought it had just been about the sex, but it wasn’t (although she missed that too); it was about the companionship and even so, there was a tugging at the back of her brain that told her to be careful.

She remembered his words through her drunken stupor. His face was glassy and blurred as he spoke in her memory, the words unmentioned since that night and even now, the thought of it made her uneasy. He had said something that serious to her while she couldn’t remember it, couldn’t pick apart the nuances in his tone and delivery. She knew he was good, a good man, but everything in her, the good girl part of her, told her that this fairytale couldn’t actually be happening.

He hadn’t been driving drunk, there was no way, not when he barely ever had anything himself. Still, they had been spoken and at the very back of her brain, they repeated like the ticker tape on a newsreel, telling her over and over again that there’s something she shouldn't’ forget.

He picked her up in his car, no driver, and she was glad for it, thinking of one time that he picked her up and how the . If nothing else, she was glad to have him to herself for a while, a time that the world was only made up of them. He kissed her cheek gently and whispered that she looked gorgeous as always.

He took the back roads leading out of Riverdale and into the neighboring town and she tried not to think too heavily about how he might be ashamed to be seen with her, a woman ten years his younger. She pushed the thought away and messed with the radio dial instead.

He took her to an afternoon movie, paying for her ticket and snacks, sitting next to her with his hand grasped around hers as she took sips of her Cherry Coke and tried to ignore the butterflies in the pit of her stomach.

Afterwards, they walked slowly to his car, enjoying the lingering decadence of seeing a film mid-afternoon and he opened her car door.

“Thanks for the movie,” she said sweetly as he shut it smartly behind her. She grinned and went to reapply her lipstick when he tapped on the window.

She rolled it down and leaned her arms on it, resting her chin on the backs of her hands.

“Yes, darling?” she said, fluttering her eyelashes facetiously.

“Do you have to be home any time soon?” he asked, his eyes twinkling with laughter.

“No, not until well after dinner,” she replied.

“Good,” he laughed.

He took the same backroads on his way back into town, but instead of driving back to wherever he lived or the office or anywhere she expected him to take her, he took a left down a dirt road and the realization of where he was taking her

He parked them on the edge of the river and she tried not to think about what a man and a woman usually do in a parked car together.

Instead, she focused on her surroundings; it was a spot she’d been to before, a common place with teenagers and families alike to the point where everyone from Riverdale and the surrounding cities had been there. Big pine trees swallowed up most of the places on the shoreline, allowing only a few access points if you knew the river well enough.

This particular spot had a great view of the valley forged by thousands of years of flow and the rocks that swam up from underneath the water to make the banks on either side. The current was calm enough here that one could wade up to their waist in the middle of the river. On hot days, you could find families and lover alike, taking refuge in the crisp water.

At this time of year however, early fall, the water reflected the golden hues of the changing leaves. She hadn’t been up here in forever and immediately felt an overwhelming sense of peace at the sound of the rushing water and the breeze blowing gently through the, the late afternoon sun on her face through the windshield.

“I love the river,” Betty sighed, rolling the window down with the crank and leaning her head out longingly. “There’s something so… serene about it.”

He squeezed her hand gently and she turned to look at him.

“We can sit on the hood of the car if you want,” he laughed.

“I… think your car is too nice for that,” she giggled. “Maybe if you drove an old beater.”

“I have a blanket,” he said.

She shook her head.

“C’mon.” He gestured with his head and hurried to her side of the door to pull it open.

True to his word, he threw the blanket on top of the hood and even though she was slightly worried that someone she knew would ride by and see them, she sat down and got comfortable, listening to the rapids cross over the rocks, the birds piping up as the sun set.

She felt peaceful until he intertwined their fingers and squeezed.

“I like it here, too,” Jughead replied thoughtfully.

She watched him as he looked out over the water. He looked deep in thought and she wondered what it was about; in reality, she didn’t know a whole lot about him. She didn’t know anything about his family other than the fact that he grew up in Southside. She didn’t know about his business, about whether that could’ve been what was making him thoughtful in this moment.

She watched the creases in between his eyebrows grow as time passed, then smooth out as he took a deep breath.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she said.

“Just thinking about how lucky I am to be out with a girl like you,” he said, turning to her suddenly and sending a blush up her cheeks.

“Juggie,” she admonished jokingly, looking back at Sweetwater.  

“I’m serious,” Jughead replied. “I’m not kidding.”

“Sure you are,” she laughed, turning to see the expression on his face just as it changed, from teasing and flirting to earnest and pensieve. It felt heavy, whatever was on his mind. She turned on her side and faced him, his body mirroring the action.

“I’m very serious about you, Betty Cooper,” he said.

She searched his face for the sign of deceit and could find none. Instead, he was looking at her like she was the light of his life, like she lit up his night sky.

“Serious about me?” she repeated, her heart thudding in her chest.

He leaned into her and put a finger under her chin, lifting her face up to meet him.

Very serious,” he said, his voice low and husky.

Their drunken conversation came back to her in a flush and she felt the heat of realization at the pit of her stomach. She hadn’t imagined it and here they were, on the hood of his car, and he was about the make the same admission that he had before.

Anxiety bubbled up after it. She couldn’t let herself think about being his, about the feeling of his hand in hers as they walked around downtown, about a sparkling ring on her finger, about their kids christenings or hosting Thanksgiving together.

“Betty,” he said softly. “I’m serious.”

He sat next to her in the top of his fancy car, his wingtips resting on the shiny black surface in front of him as he crossed his arms across his chest. He looked unbelievably sexy, but that didn’t make the reiterations of his sentiments from last week any less crazy.

“Stop saying that.” she exclaimed. “You’ve gone absolutely mental.”

The high neck of her crisp white shirt felt suffocating and she unbuttoned a couple buttons, desperate for a little bit of air despite the fall breeze, turning away from him and running her hand across her ponytail.

“I resent that,” he teased.

“You don’t even know what you’re saying,” she rationalized. “I should call you a doctor.”

“I know perfectly well what I’m saying,” he replied calmly. “The business dinner was a test to make sure you were… all right with these kinds of situations and that you would fit in with my life and you, unsurprisingly, did, and with flying colors, I might add.

“What exactly are you saying?” she said slowly.

“You know what I’m saying,” he said, rolling his eyes slightly.

“That you want to get…”

“Married.”

The word from his mouth took shock and awe to a whole new level and she turned to look at him in disbelief.

“My parents would never allow it,” she replied.

“They will,” he stated back, amused.

She stared down at her loafers, the trees and the car swirling around her slightly.

“Do you love me?” he asked, looking at her with all the seriousness in the world.

“I… that’s not what matters,” she said, standing up suddenly. “What you’re asking isn’t possible. There’s no way that reality exists in this world of make-believe you’ve created in your mind.”

“You’re making it much more difficult than it has to be, darling,” he said matter-of-factly.

The shiny leather of her loafers stared up at her mockingly. There was a stray thread on her brown wool skirt and she left it, desperate for a distraction from this conversation.

“I’m not! You’re oversimplifying it. We’ve been… seeing each other in secret for how long?” she cried.
“What will the university think? What will your colleagues, my friends think? Add into all those things that my parents won’t allow it and now I really think that you’re bonkers.”

“Who cares?” he asked metaphorically.

“I do!” she said disbelievingly. “They’re my parents! I’m not going to go against my parents wishes just for you.”

“Do you always do what your parents want?” he asked, his voice all serious but his eyes teasing.

“Yes,” she said stubbornly, crossing her arms over her chest.

“So your parents wanted you to sneak out of the gala and get fucked against the wall last month?” he asked, his voice dropping low.

She flushed deep red and opened her mouth in protest.

“No, missy, you don’t always do what they want,” he laughed.

“It’s not nice for you to be this mean,” she said sternly. “You shouldn’t string young women around like this.”

“I promise you that I’ve never been this serious with another young woman,” he said.

“Well that’s easy for you to say when-”

“I have a ring,” he said softly.

Her eyes snapped up.

“A ring ?”

“The kind that you give someone when you ask to marry them,” he said.

“This is too much,” she said as she attempted to fan herself. “I don’t know what to think.”

“Think about what you’ll say when I ask you for real,” he said.

The thought of him getting down on one knee made her palms sweat, with anxiety or excitement she couldn’t decide. She fanned even harder.

“You remember the first time we kissed?” he said, sitting up and leaning towards her, reaching out for her hand. She took another step back.

“Barely,” she said stiffly.

“You melted against me, Betty,” he replied. “Everything in you wanted to kiss me like everything in me wanted to kiss you.”

“How did it go from that to this?” she cried. “You treated me like some… woman of the night and now I’m expected to want to marry you? Who’s to say you won’t seduce another college student if…”

He reeled like he’d been slapped.

“Do you really think that?” he asked, the hurt in voice evident.

“What am I supposed to think?” she said seriously, crossing her arms in front of her and trying to discreetly wipe the tears that threatened to fall down her intentionally blushed cheeks.

“That I want to be with you,” he said seriously. “You’re supposed to realize that I don’t do things like this.”

“I don’t even know you, Jughead,” she spit at him, “How would I know how you treat anyone but me? I don’t know anything about your business or your family or your childhood or anything. And you want to get married? Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?”

“I…” he started, then closed his eyes with a deep sigh.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into you, Jughead Jones,” she said, “but you are not being logical right now. We hardly know each other.”

“You’re right.”

“I know,” she huffed.

“It’s not fair to you,” he said, turning to look at her slightly.

“It isn’t fair at all ,” she clarified, trying her best to stay mad at him as he slowly moved closer and rubbed his hands along her upper arms.

“You do know I’m serious though, don’t you?”

“I…” she had to think about it.

Did she believe him? Did she believe that the older man she’d been sleeping with for the last six months was actually in love with her?

As if reading her mind, he spoke.

“I’m sorry that you don’t believe me,” he said.

“I’m not,” she sniffed, her eyes filling with tears, “Guys don’t marry the girl they fucked in the coat closet.”

“Betty…” he sighed.

“I wanna go home,” she said resolutely.

“Betty, wait-”

“Take me home, Jughead,” she replied.

And he did.

He pulled in front of her house and tried to kiss her on the cheek. She pulled away and opened her own car door before he could run around to do it for her.

“Can we go out next weekend?” he asked hopefully.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Can I call you, then?” he said, his voice falling.

“I don’t think so, Jughead,” she said.

Her heart felt like it was breaking as she walked up the path to the front door, but she didn’t give him another look.

Chapter Text

Betty Cooper sat in her bed, carton of ice cream in her lap as she listened to pathetically romantic records and cried. The soundtrack of her life in that moment was the sad, pitiable life of a Hollywood starlet in a romantic movie, a role that she felt entirely made for in the current moment. She sniffled and took another bite.

It had been five days, five days since she looked at Jughead and told him that he shouldn’t call her.

And he hadn’t. He hadn’t called, even when he knew that she wanted him to. On one hand, she respected that he was respecting her wishes and on the other, it made the petty part of her heart writhe with victory.

See , it said, he never actually wanted you. If he did, he would have called. I was right to keep you guarded.

It was difficult at first, and she relished the melancholy of the pseudo-breakup. It was the first one that she’d experienced, and even then it didn’t count. It was something everyone experienced and even so, she had to keep it secret, tucked away in her pastel pink bedroom for nobody to see, the dramatic ending to her illicit affair.

Her mom had come up the stairs and knocked on the door the first day, when Betty was running late for class because her under-eyes were too dark from crying.

“Elizabeth Cooper, put on some lipstick and be a lady,” Alice had said, completely unaware of what was actually going on in Betty’s life.

Betty had rolled her eyes and put on more of her lipstick, ignoring her mother completely.

But now it was Friday, and she had nothing to do but think about how her best friend was out with some boy, one that she had a fantasy life with at some point, and how she was alone. It felt good on a weird level, to be purging herself of the hold that Jughead used to have on her. It was a little bit ridiculous to be sleeping with someone she knew she couldn’t be with, someone who was so clearly at a different place in life with different goals, a man that she couldn’t start a life with, who her parents wouldn’t approve of.

She was lucky that nothing too detrimental to her future had happened. She could practically hear her mother’s voice in the back of her head, chastising her for her poor decisions.

Betty knew that eventually the thoughts of Jughead Jones would fade into some sort of distant memory. One day, she’d forget how his kisses taste, the way that his hands felt on her waist, how she heated all over when their eyes met across the room. She would forget the way his voice sounded when he called her darling and baby and her heart would settle like the autumn leaves on the grass outside.

She shook her head self-deprecatingly and took another bite of ice cream.

(Who said 2 pm was too early for Rocky Road?)

There was a knock on the bedroom door and before Betty could object to someones entrance into her lair of loneliness, Veronica Lodge in her quintessential form, complete with a black dress and pearls, walked into the room and shut the door smartly behind her.

“It’s been a week , Elizabeth Cooper,” she said seriously, arms crossed in front of her, the toe of her heeled pump tapping on the ground. “Either you’ve got to spill the beans or I’m going to leave you completely and utterly to wallow in your lamentable loss of love forever.”

“I told you not to come,” Betty groaned as she sat up slightly, her shoulders sore from lack of use.

“And I told you I didn’t care,” Veronica said matter-of-factly, “I’m your best friend and that warrants an open-ended invitation to your inner sanctum.”

“Alright,” Betty sighed deeply, patting the spot on the bed next to her. “What do you want to know?”

“Who is he?” Veronica asked, eye wide and perky, sitting on the edge of Betty’s bed and taking her hands in her own.

A pit of shame grew in her stomach at the thought of the judgment that could be coming.

“Promise you won’t judge me?” Betty asked, realizing that Veronica was the first person she’d actually told, the panic of it rising in her throat. It was like admitting the whole affair made it more real, scarier, deeper.

“Cross my heart and hope to die,” Veronica swore across her chest.

“It was… uh… Jughead Jones,” Betty said with a closed-eyed cringe, expecting a blowup from her friend. When she tentatively peeked one eye open, she saw Veronica leaning forward with an open-mouthed gape.

“Betty Cooper, you absolute harlot! ” Veronica exclaimed.

“You promised you wouldn’t judge!” Betty said accusingly.

“Why would I judge you?” Veronica said seriously. “I should congratulate you. He’s a catch. Not to mention devilishly handsome.”

“Veronica,” Betty sighed, falling back into the bed and throwing her arm dramatically across her face. “It’s the absolute worst.”

“Why?” Veronica replied, absolutely enthralled by the sensationalism now. “What happened?”

“If I say it, I’ll sound absolutely crazy,” Betty warned, peeking out from under her forearm.

“Oh my goodness, spill, spill spill!” Veronica shrieked, readjusting herself on the bed in a more attention prone position.

“It’s been going on for six months,” Betty started as Veronica gasped, “and it started with just… well just sex, you know? And that was fine with me. Then after the gala he took me to Pop’s and then to a dinner party with his colleagues another week later and then, remember that night at Reggie’s?” Veronica nodded. “He picked me up and told me…”

Her voice trailed off and Veronica looked up at her expectantly.

“And told you what? The suspense is killing me!”

“That he wanted to get married… married to me I mean.”

“Are you kidding me?” Veronica all but yelled after a huge gasp.

Betty hushed her and continued on.

“And it’s impossible for me to think about,” she said, shaking her head like it wasn’t even an option, “What would people think? I barely even know him, how would I marry him?”

“There’s not even a little part of you that wants to try it anyways?” Veronica said, looking at her thoughtfully with a hint of suspicion.

Marrying him? Are you serious, Veronica!?”

“Well maybe not the marriage thing, but you know, a whole serious relationship. A courtship, if you will.”

“I barely know him, V,” she said seriously.

“I just think that,” said Veronica, running her finger along the pattern of Betty’s quilt, “if it’s love, it’s love, and don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with but also don’t let something stupid like fear stand in the way.”

Betty looked at her friend with a furrowed brow, the wheels in her brain turning.

“What’s got you all romantic?” she asked skeptically.

“If you must know, Archiekins and I may or may not be dating,” Veronica replied, pulling her pump up under her on the bed. “Officially now. And he met my mom and she approves and it’s all just too perfect right now.”

“Well, I’m very happy for you,” Betty laughed. “Archie could use someone like you.”

“Just like Jughead could use someone like you?” Veronica suggested coyly.

“Ronnie,” Betty sighed.

“Do you love him?” her friend asked bluntly.

“I mean…” Betty started.

“Honestly, do you love him?” Veronica repeated.

“I don’t know. What is love anyways?”

Veronica rolled her eyes and gave her a knowing look.

“I’m serious, Veronica,” Betty said. “I’ve never been in a serious relationship and now some guy, who has never shown any interest in a serious relationship previous to this, wants to marry me?”

Her best friend had nothing to say in reply, nodding in unspoken agreement.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you were sleeping with our dear Jughead Jones,” Veronica replied shortly, looking at her nails.

“It wasn’t exactly information that I wanted spread around,” Betty shrugged with a laugh.

“Anyways,” Veronica laughed, “Enough about this drama, how are your classes?”


 

She went through the motions for the next few weeks. School, study, Pop’s for burgers with no motorcycles parked outside, no stolen kisses in the backseat of the car.

She hung out with Veronica and Archie and Reggie, a football friend’s of Archie’s who made continuous passes at her despite everyone’s insistence that he stop. He was nice enough, just very intent on telling her how pretty she was on a near constant basis. It was flattering but at the end of the day, she couldnt’ get Jughead off her mind.

There were repeated notifications from her mom on the first floor that there was a call waiting for her on the line and every time, Betty ignored them. She’d told him not to call her and she was intent on not letting him be rewarded for going against her wishes.

She thought about calling him every day. Her fingers ached to dial the familiar number and hear his voice perk up on the other end. Instead, she dedicated her life to school, devoting herself to term papers and pop quizzes while trying to forget the feeling of his lips pressed up against hers.

It went on for weeks like this, spending time that she’d missed with Veronica, ignoring her mom’s questioning looks about the man calling her everyday on the phone, going to Pop’s and the movies and trying for forget about him and the ache in her heart.


 

Everyone seemed to think that she should call him.

“Just give it a shot,” Archie said reasonably. “You never know what he wants to say.”

“Yes, I do, Arch,” Betty replied with an eyeroll.

No , you don’t ,” Veronica insisted. “You just think you know.”

“Nope, pretty sure I know.”

She got the same thing from her mom the following week.

“What’s been going on with you, Elizabeth?” she said, entering Betty’s room under the guise of dropping off laundry.

“Mother,” Betty said exasperatedly, again with an eye roll, a well practiced motion for her by this point.

“I’m serious,” her mom replied with a sigh and suddenly it hit Betty, how sad she must have been over the last month for her to notice, to care, to come into her room to check on her. “Are you okay? What’s been going on?”

“Mom,” Betty insisted, plastering on her best cheerful smile, “I’ve had a rough month but I promise I’m okay. Everything is going to be fine.”

“Is it your grades?”

“No, my grades are fine.”

“Are you… are you in trouble?” Alice asked, her eyes flicking to Betty’s flat stomach.

“Oh my goodness gracious, no !”

“I’m just making sure you’re being safe and—”

“Honestly, you have nothing to worry about. I’m not pregnant, I’m not flunking out of college, everything is fine, I promise .

Alice nodded, half-believing what she was saying and then changed the subject to how she was going to visit her sister again. 


She had trouble focusing on school, her mind wandering to romps in cars, to sipping strawberry milkshakes after too much champagne, to a man’s voice coming in through the phone.

She had trouble coming home and falling asleep, the events tossing and turning in her head, feeling the phantom linger of a hand against hers.

She ran into one of the ladies from the business dinner and had to deal with the effects of telling her that she hadn’t talked to Jughead in a while. (“ Oh, that is just such a shame. You seemed so good together! ”)

The comments wore on her. Her mom’s, Veronica’s, Archie’s, her friends at school who told her something was off. Everyone. As hard as she tried to forget, she couldn’t get him off her mind.

So she gave in one night. She gave in and called him, the dial tone mocking her lack of control as her fingers spun the rotary dial, the familiarity of the process calming her.

“Hi,” she said, looking around the corner to make sure her mom wasn’t listening, “It’s me.”

“Hi!” he said, sounding surprised.

“I felt like I should call,” she said and when silence met the end of her words, she felt pressure to fill it with words, the way she was raised to be polite rising to the surface before she could stop it. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“You aren’t! I was going to call you but you beat me to it.”

“Oh!” she blushed despite herself, hating how easily they fell back into this routine. .

“I really have tried to call.”

“I know,” Betty admitted. “My mom told me.”

“But you didn’t want to take it?”

“I told you not to call, Jug,” she said and he sighed in reply. “I felt like it wasn’t fair… not until I’d thought about it a little more.”

“Thought about…” He paused. “Us?”

“Yes, about us.”

“And… well, what did you come up with?”

“I just feel like I don’t know you,” she said, twisting the telephone cord around her finger, feeling like a giddy schoolgirl at the sound of his voice through the receiver.

“You don’t?”

“No, not really,” she admitted softly.

“I feel like I know you so well.”

“I… well…”

“Your favorite milkshake flavor is strawberry, what you want to be when you grow up, what your sister’s like and—”

“That doesn’t change anything, Juggie,” she interjected quietly. “That doesn’t change how I feel, how I feel like I don’t know you. You know all those things about me and I know nothing about you. I don’t know about your family or where you grew up or what your sister’s like or—”

“I do have a sister, you know,” he said quickly and she had to laugh in response, at the absurdity of it, how she knew every inch of his body and he knew every inch of hers but still he couldn’t talk about his family.

“Why… why don’t we restart then?” he suggested and her heart fluttered. “We’ll start over and I’ll do it right. No… just no, what was it you said? No ‘fucking in the coat closet.’”

“I shouldn’t have said that,” she said sheepishly.

“I deserved it,” he replied quickly.

“Maybe,” she admitted.

“We’ll start over, then.”

“What does that even look like?”

“I’ll take you out and be a perfect gentleman. We can get to know each other, really get to know each other.”

“You’d do that?” she asked softly.

“Betty Cooper, I’d do just about anything for you,” he said and her heartbeat pitter-pattered in her chest.

“Well, I suppose it’s a date then.”

“Can I pick you up at the house?”

“Sure… my mom’s gone to visit some family this weekend anyways.”

“Friday then. 6 o’clock sharp.”

“Bye, Juggie.”

She hung up the phone and looked at it in disbelief, immediately picking it back up to call Veronica and dish the details of the conversation.

Chapter Text

Betty Cooper sat by the windows in the front room, tapping her fingers impatiently on the arm of the chair, peeking around the curtains everytime a car drove by.

She sat by the window and waited just like she’d been waiting for the last week. She had waited while she studied and tried to wrap up the end of her term at school, attempting to focus on her upcoming finals. She waited while her dad left for dinner with a person she didn’t want to think too much about, waited while the grandfather clock ticked on the wall, waited as the lights on the Christmas tree across the street came to live and glowed in the glass of the window.

It was nerve wracking in a way Betty hadn’t often experienced. She was fairly used to a normal level of nervousness, the butterflies in her stomach and the sweating on her palms, the same feeling that she got before taking an important exam at school or when she was trying to hide something from her mother or the first time she got behind the wheel of her father’s car all those years ago.

This was different. There was weight to this nervousness, the idea that there were certain aspects of her future that could be decided by these moments. In her heart, she wanted it. She wanted the fairytale romance, the business dinners at fancy restaurants, the glamorous charity events and parties, the house with the white picket fence and a chandelier.

But with Jughead? She struggled to come up with a situation in which that could sensibly become a reality. Thoughts came to her head of walking down an aisle in a gorgeous church filled with lilies and roses, of Jughead with a little girl in his arms, a little boy at his hip, both dark and curly-headed with green eyes, of growing old in a rocking chair on the porch, holding hands as the summers faded from hot and humid to a crisp fall, from winter whites into spring blooms.

She drew herself back into where she actually was, looking around at the house, the walls covered in floral wallpaper, her mother’s brass candlesticks and wedding china displayed in the cabinet, the chair upholstered in velvet.

Her dad had been a football player; her mother rose up from the wrong side of the tracks, taking on the sweater sets and pearls underfoot. As much as she hated to admit it, it was easier to imagine that reality than one where Jughead was able to open up, to think about something other than his lofty goals, to connect with her in a way that was more than just… sex.

She heard her mother’s voice in her head. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

And she’d given him all of the milk. Guys don’t marry the girl who gave them all the milk, who let him whisper dirty things in their ears, who not only let them whisper those things but like those things too, the way that it made her wet between her legs.

Something moved out of the corner of her eye and finally, the same blue car that he’d picked her up in when they went to his business dinners pulled up to the front of her house, the engine slowing to a quiet rumble as the stopped at the end of the walkway. A flood of nerves spilled over her as he parked and walked up to the front door, the knocking firmly and startling her even though she knew it was coming.

She smoothed the floral, baby blue skirt of her dress and lined the seam of her pantyhose up at the back of her leg and tugged at the shoulders of her coat until the collar was in the right spot, perfectly framing the little crown pendant hanging centered on her collarbones.

“Hi,” she said as she opened the door.

“Hi,” he said too, blinking rapidly and she secretly relished the way that his eyes widened at the sight of her. “Are you ready?”

She grabbed her bag and quickly checked her lipstick in the mirror by the door, smoothing out one of the edges with the pad of her finger before turning back to him and blushing. “Yes.”

“You look great,” he said as he swung his keys around his fingers and she wondered how something so small could turn her on and also make her heart flutter in her chest.

“I’m not overdressed?” she said, looking him up and down as she closed the door behind him and followed him to the car. He was dressed differently than usual, clad in black jeans and a matching buttoned shirt, sneakers and finished with, of all things, a black leather jacket, worn around the edges, slightly ripped around the elbows and collar. She was used to him smelling vaguely like leather, but had always assumed it was a note in his cologne, not a piece in his wardrobe.

“You’re perfect,” he said softly, earnestly, and her heart skipped a beat.

“Thanks,” she said, her cheeks reddening slightly as he opened the car door for her, his hand brushing the small of her back as she perched on the leather seat.

He put the key in the ignition, suddenly turning to her, and he leaned in to kiss her and in a moment of blurred thoughts, she pulled back slightly, a wave of nerves coming over her at the thought of how much she’d hurt in the last month. He pulled back too and his mouth came open like he was going to say something but she cut him off.

“I think we should take things slow,” she said, hating how her voice was shaking with nerves a little bit.

He nodded his head quickly. “No, no, you’re right. I’m sorry, I should’ve realized and—”

“Yeah, maybe,” she agreed quickly, a shy smile coming over her face despite trying not to, “Maybe you should’ve but it’s okay.”

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, looking incredibly candid and reaching his hand out towards her.

“I forgive you,” she said, squeezing his hand briefly before reaching up to fasten her seatbelt.

“You know I am, right?”

She laughed. “Yes, Juggy.”

“Just because you look insanely beautiful doesn’t mean I can kiss you without permission,” he said seriously and her heart pitter-pattered.

“You’re right,” she said softly.

“So…” he said awkwardly, putting his hands on the steering wheel in a position that would make his driving instructors proud, “getting to know each other?”

“Yes,” she laughed.

“Good,” he said, with a nod, looking over at her and then down at her hands, clasped in her lap. He turned the car on fully and pulled away from the curb, turning on the radio and looking out the window at the road.

She looked at him, really looked at him as he drove his hair a little shiny, making her wonder if he’d put some sort of product in it.

“Can I hold your hand?” he asked softly at a stop sign in the middle of the quiet neighborhood, not a car to be seen as he swallowed nervously.

“Juggy,” she started, running her palm down his arm to his hand and intertwining their fingers. “You don’t have to be nervous. I’m not… I’m not mad at you. I just think we need to… start from the beginning. With what we missed.”

He nodded. “And I agree with you.”

“I know,” she replied. “And… and I think it’s common and perfectly appropriate to hold hands on a first date.”

He sighed and then laughed. “You’re right, I’m being silly.”

“A little bit… but in a cute way,” she responded, leaning and smiling at the way he blushed. She didn’t think she’d ever been able to that before, make him blushing and nervous. “It’s cute how nervous you are.”

“I…” he paused and squeezed her hand. “I really don’t want to mess this up.”

“You’re doing great so far,” she encouraged, squeezing back.

“I just want to… I don’t know. I want to do right by you, I guess.”

She didn’t think and just let herself do what she wanted to do, and leaned over and pressed a quick kiss to his cheek, the stubble against her lips and the scent of his cologne bringing back a flood of memories.

Something inside of her wanted to click towards him, to rotate the dial and turn up the heat and yet, his words were still ringing in her ears.   I want to do right by you , he had said, his voice genuine and the thought of him saying it again, despite the fact that she’d been caught in his traps and webs too many times before.

It was intoxicating, the pull to kiss his lips drawing her closer.

In slow motion, he turned his head to look at her, his pupils blown and she saw all the emotions she was feeling reflected in his eyes, the way he was looking at her all lust and like and something else at the edges too.

He leaned in, slow as sin and sexy as hell, and pressed a soft kiss to the underside of her jaw. She had to resist the urge to slide down into a puddle on the floor, to tilt her neck back, expose more skin to his soft caresses. She bit her lip and tried not to breathe any heavier.

One more kiss and he pulled away, his breath hot against her skin.

“I need to stop,” he chuckled against her neck, “I need to stop or I’m going to want to kiss you until your pretty blonde head pops off.”

“Yes,” Betty agreed quickly, her voice breathy and she cleared her throat quickly. “Yes, we should keep driving… we are still at stop sign afterall.”

He looked around and laughed, the tops of his ears tickled with red.

“Sorry,” he said softly, laughter still in his voice, “I find self control very difficult when I’m around you.”

“It’s okay, I started it,” she admitted sheepishly. “Let’s go… wherever we’re going.”


Betty had been to a lot of nice places in her life and had, on a certain level, expected this to be something like that. She hadn’t really known what to expect, but had assumed that it would be something along the lines of the places that he’d taken her before, a little swanky and a little out of her comfort zone.

Instead, she found herself standing outside of Pop’s Chock-Lit Shoppe, surprised by Jughead for the umpteenth time.

Just when she felt like she was starting to the put the pieces of him together, like she knew him better than she knew herself, he surprised her with something so unexpected that it made her rethink everything. She’d been nervous about a fancy restaurant, about employing the lessons from the finishing school her mother had sent her to and worrying about which fork she should use for which course. The more she thought about it, the more it was a welcome change of pace, sitting in a booth she’d sat in a dozen times over the years, completely comfortable and even a little bit nostalgic.

Jughead sat across from her, the neon lights reflecting on the worn material of his jacket and she felt nervous energy in a good way now, not because she didn’t know what was going to happen but because she knew what was going to happen, how she just had a feeling that tonight would end well.

“Why Pop’s?” she’d asked as she slurped down a strawberry shake, her coat resting on her shoulders across the booth from him as she propped her head up with her hands.

“I didn’t want you to be nervous,” he replied with a shrug, “Or me to be nervous either. We’ve been here before together and it… it seemed appropriate, I guess.”

She nodded because she understood. Even though they hadn’t grown up at the same time, they’d both been coming here for their whole lives, maybe even at the same time. She’d been here with her friends in high school, with her parents as a kid, with Jughead when she’d had a little too much champagne at the Gala. It was fitting, that their pasts were coming together to this moment at this place.

Their food came and she absorbed herself in the conversation, giving little pieces of herself as bait for him to return with little tidbits of information about himself too. He took the chance, slowly giving her more and more about his family, his tough childhood, what his company actually did, where he wanted to travel in the world.

The more they talked, the more she realized why she’d fallen so hard for him in the beginning. He was caring and inquisitive and made her feel like he was really listening to her and cared about her opinions and views and experiences.

The more they talked, the more she felt connected to him, the more desperately she wanted him to closer to her, for his hand to be in hers or . She could still feel the electricity down her spine from when he’d kissed down her neck and deep down, she wanted him to squirm just as much as he had in that moment.

She slipped her shoe off her foot, gently lowering it to the floor so it wouldn’t make a sound, and ran her toes gently up the leg of his pants. He startled slightly and then grinned down beneath the table.

“Hi, Betty,” he chuckled, smirking fully now.

“Hello,” she replied innocently, slipping a french fry into her mouth as she slide her foot up higher.

“Naughty girl,” he teased.

“I don’t know what you’re referring to,” she said, looking at him with big green eyes that she knew drove him crazy.

He reached his hand down and grabbed her foot, stopping her in her tracks.

“You keep that up and you’ll get yourself into trouble, Miss Cooper,” he said, his eyes full of mischief and a slight tone of severity in his voice, the kind of tone that made her think he just might follow up on his word if she asked for it nicely enough.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw movement, and in one movement she slid her toes back into her shoe and crossed her legs nonchalantly.

“You two behaving yourselves over here?” Mr. Tate teased as he sat the bill on the table as he passed briefly.

She giggled and watched him leave, Jughead snatching the receipt up before she had a chance to offer anything, knowing that he would’ve insisted on paying for everything even if she had protested.

“You ready to go?” he asked, looking at the clock as he took one last sip of his shake and stood up. “We have a movie to make.”

He set a crisp dollar bill on the table as a tip and her eyes widened; the amount he left neared the total of their whole bill.

“You tip very well,” she said delicately as she stood up and slid her coat back on.

“I’ve been coming here a long time,” he whispered in her ear, resting a hand on her lower back as she walked out of the restaurant. “Pop has given me more free burgers than I can count over the years. I try to repay him now that I can.”

She looked up at him as he opened the car door for her and sat down, tucking her dress in under her and grasping his hand quickly.

“You’re a good man, Jughead Jones,” she said softly.

“Thanks, Betty,” he replied, blushing slightly before closing the door.


She watched him as he drove them to the drive-in. The passing lights reflecting off his hair like they had before and she could practically see the gears turning in his head, analyzing different options for how to proceed on whatever he was thinking about.

“I was a Southside Serpent,” he said suddenly and out of the blue.

The breath caught in her throat slightly as the reality of it washed over her.

“You… what?”

“I’m… I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier,” he said, squeezing her hand as her head swirled.

“What… what changed? I mean, are you still—”

“No,” he interrupted quickly, “No, not for years.”

“What happened?”

“My dad…” he started and then cleared his throat. Betty wondered if it was just a motion or if he was getting emotional. “My dad was in charge of it all. Ran it. And it felt like there was no other option for protection but to join. If I didn’t join any gangs and lived in the Southside, I was alone but… but if I joined one, at least some people would help me if my back were against the wall.”

“I’m sorry,” she said softly, unsure completely of what to say.

He looked at her, his eyes rimmed in red. “It’s fine now, I just… I thought you should know that’s where I come from.”

“Well, thanks for telling me,” she whispered.

“Does that…” She’d never heard him take so many pauses when talking, sounding so unsure of himself. “Does that change anything? I’d understand if it does.”

Her brow furrowed without her regard and she tried to understand what he was saying, finally it clicked.

“You think I’m going to break up with you because you were in a gang?”

“I mean,” he chuckled sheepishly, running his hand through the back of his hair, “I don’t know. I’d understand if you wanted to.”

“Juggie,” she said, turning his face towards her and kissing him despite telling herself that she was going to stay chaste the entirety of the evening. “Thank you for telling me. I can’t imagine what that all was like but… I’m glad you told me and I’m glad you’re out.”

“Me too,” he said, pressing a kiss to her cheek as they pulled into the drive-in.

Jughead handed the cashier a couple quarters and asked Betty which movie she’d want to see, taking her answer and pulling into a spot near the back, rolling down the window so they could listen to the audio.

“Do you want snacks?” he asked once they were settled.

“Sure,” she replied excitedly.

“Get whatever you want,” he said as he pulled out a handful of nickels from his jacket pocket.

“I can pay for it, Jughead,” she started but he waved her off and ignored it.

“What’s the point of having money if I can’t spoil a pretty girl with it?”

She blushed slightly and moved to get out before she turned back to him.

“Do you want anything?”

“Popcorn,” he said, grinning. “And candy. And a Coke.”

“I…” she looked down at the money in her hands as he tossed another few nickels into the pile.

“That should cover it, unless prices have magically gone up since I was here a few weeks ago.”

“Jughead…”

“Betty,” he laughed, “Stop worrying about it and go get us some popcorn.”

She smirked and closed the door, feeling his eyes on her back as she walked away.

She stood in line, looking at the menu and turning the coins around in her hand.

“Oh my goodness!” A squeal came from behind her.

She whipped around to see Veronica, hanging off of Archie’s arm.

“Ronnie, what are you doing here?”

“Dear Archiekins decided to take me on a date,” she gloated, Archie beaming as he looked down at her.

“Fancy running into you two here!” Betty exclaimed.

“Are you seeing—” Archie started.

“Rebel Without a Cause,” Betty interjected quickly as another person left the line.

“Who are you here with?” Archie asked curiously. Betty knew he meant it conversationally but Veronica’s eyes widened slightly when Betty hesitated.

“Just an old friend, nothing serious,” she replied with a shrug, trying to be nonchalant. “Anyways, I have to get snacks… I’ll call you later, Veronica?”

Veronica reached out and squeezed her hand with a smirk.

“Go get your snacks, Elizabeth,” she said, just enough teasing that Betty would hear it and Archie wouldn’t. Betty blushed and took her turn at the counter.


Betty balanced everything in her arms and attempted to open it until Jughead pushed it open, taking the sodas from her hands as she laughed gratefully.

“Sorry, I got a lot,” she giggled.

“I told you to get whatever you wanted,” he laughed with a shrug.

“I didn’t think you’d be much into Rebel Without a Cause ,” he said as she drank her soda, enjoying all the sugar she was imbibing guilt-free without her mom’s voice in the back of her head. “I thought for sure that you would’ve picked the other movie.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Jughead Jones,” she said with a smile, settling more comfortably under his arm.

“How’s that?”

“I’m all about the rebels,” she said with a wink and he coughed on his soda, sputtering a gibberish reply as the movie started.


 

She tried to focus on the movie screen in front of her, tried to focus on the sound coming out of the radios near their head but Jughead was sitting next to her and she couldn’t help but fidget at how much she wanted him.

He wrapped his arm around her and a rush of heat came over her at having him this close.

It’d been so long since she’d had him, since he’d touched her underneath her dress or felt his kisses down her chest or on her thighs. It’d been weeks since he’d gotten her off or touched her tenderly and all of it, the contact between them now, was making it too much to bear.

James Dean flashed across the screen with a pretty actress she didn’t know the name of, but all she could focus on was the fact that Jughead’s hand was now on her leg, rubbing soft circles over her thigh as tingles started focusing between her legs.

The music swelled and she leaned into him, resting her head on his chest and drowning in the smell of his aftershave and leather jacket and cigars. She looked at him through the layers of mascara she’d put on her lashes and suddenly his face was so close she could see the rings of darkness in his crystal clear eyes.  

There was a look on his face and in his eye, one that was telling her that he wanted this as badly as she did. She was aching for his lips against hers.

He leaned in and in the softest, most tender voice she’d ever heard, he whispered inches from her lips. “Can I kiss you, Betty Cooper?”

“Yes,” she breathed out.

He leaned in closer and closer, his face dangerously close to hers, his breath hot on her neck, her over, up and across her nose and over the lids of her closed eyes. And finally, he kissed her.

Everything she’d been feeling over the last month was soothed with the kiss.

All the uncertainty about whether or not she could do this, about whether she wanted him, about whether she could ever see a future. There was the doubt, the doubt that he actually felt the way that he said he felt about her. The thoughts about how now that he's seen more of her than anyone else, taken parts of her that nobody else had ever had, seen the darkest depths of her soul and that inevitably meant he was going to leave her, not want her anymore. All of that flashed through her head but then—

There was no way someone who kissed her like that didn’t love her.

It set a fire starting at the top of her spine and traveled south, settling between her legs and suddenly, she needed more. There was an itch that only Jughead could scratch, an itch that was classically trained to start when she got a whiff of his aftershave, warm and musky against his neck, entirely masculine and just her taste. Her heart pitter-pattered in her chest and she had to use every ounce of self control to restrain herself from moving on top of him.

She leaned into him and her arms traveled up his arms of their own accord, tangling her hands into his hair by the base of his neck, tugging gently as he responded to her deepening the kiss.

“Betts,” he groaned against her mouth and her pulse raced.

“Juggie,” she breathed.

“No, no, Betty,” he said, pulling away from her slightly, holding her shoulders gently but firmly as she tried to move towards him.

It felt like a slight, the way he was pushing her away.

“I don’t want you to think I don’t respect your thoughts and decisions,” he said softly, his hands running up and down her arms now.

“What?”

“If I do this now, which I really, really want to, it means that I’m not keeping my word to you. My word to be a gentleman and to do this right wouldn’t mean anything anymore.”

“But—”

“Betts, I’m serious!”

“Don’t you respect that I know what I want?” she said hotly.

He gave her a look. “When I said I wanted to do this right, I meant it. I meant taking it slow and taking the steps and not just jumping ahead just because the mood strikes me.”

She swallowed thickly.

“Are you okay?” he asked, reaching out towards her. She moved back a little bit and then sighed.

“It makes me feel like you don’t want me,” she admitted softly, horrified when her throat choked up.

“Baby, no,” he said quickly, taking her hand in his and using his other to tug her chin up to look at him. “That couldn’t be further from the truth, I promise.”

She smiled softly, running a finger absentmindedly over the half moons on her palms.

“It’s… I understand how it could seem like that, but that isn’t it… at all .”

“Promise?” she asked, leaning her head on the seat and looking up at him, another wave of embarrassment washing over her as she thought how silly she probably was. \

“I promise, Betty Cooper,” he said, intertwining their fingers.

She grinned as he leaned in to kiss her on the cheek, continuing to watch the movie as she leaned her head on his shoulders.