Alice walks up to FP's trailer door, her heart is pounding in her ears, but she refuses to acknowledge it even the slightest. She breathes in and out heavily and bangs on the door multiple times. She’s never been a patient woman. "FP!" she yells somewhat loudly.
FP barely has time to open the door when Alice just decides to let herself in. “Do come in Alice. Make yourself at home. Especially since you weren’t invited.” FP says sarcastically.
"Oh, please," she hissed back. "Its not like you have anything better to do!" she smirked as her six inch black heels clinked against the kitchen tiles.
“I had my peace and quiet since Jughead is doing Serpent business. You ruined my day off from drama.” FP just stares at her with contempt.
"I can see your idea of no drama equates to drinking as much as you can!" She narrowed her regard to the plethora of beer bottles that were scattered around his kitchen. "I thought you stopped all of this, old habits die hard with you.”
“You’re not my keeper Alice!! And never have been or wanted to be! So leave me the hell alone about my drinking!” FP paces back and forth like a trapped animal.
"You know, I came here for a very specific reason, to warn you that The Register would be posting an article about the Southside Serpents and their King. However, it seems to me that you have passed down your role to your high school son who is now going to entrap my Betty in all of this. How quintessentially FP of you, to run away when the fire gets too bright!”
"You're right, I'm not your keeper so maybe I should just leave you to your poor piss tasting beer!”
“I’m not running! Stop accusing me of shit that’s not true! Jug loves Betty to pieces! Not to mention they’re not us and never will be. Don’t insult my intelligence with shitty reasons for not wanting them together! Betty will never be you! You just are a prejudice shit!”
The words came out like venom, hot and uncontrollable but it didn't change the regret that burnt her throat.
Alice took a few steps back. She didn't understand why they always did this to one another, why, despite all the time they have now had apart, they constantly hurt each other.
The words felt like fire on her skin. There was truth in his words.
"The alcohol is a form of running.”
FP just stared at Alice almost regretting what he said but it was the truth.
"Don't you want to see your son grow old?”
She knew these words would hurt him but she was selfish. She didn't want to lose.
He hurt her, she was going to hurt him. That's all they seemed to know how to do around one another nowadays.
“It’s my business, not yours why I drink. Maybe it’s because you keep showing up in my life ever since Jug and Betty got together. Why must you torment me?”
"Torment you?" she chuckled, completely and utterly oblivious of what the hell he could possibly mean.
“Jug can take care of himself! You’re not his mother! Stop inserting yourself where you don’t belong!” FP shakes his head not knowing what to do or say.
"I don't know if you realise this, FP but Jug influences Betty to do things she would never have done beforehand!"
Anger was now playing at Alice's words.
"I can't help but think he learned those things from his father!”
“Don’t blame my son for being himself to the point where he got a good girlfriend. You shouldn’t judge him because of me and our past. Give him a fucking chance!” FP was so infuriated with Alice that he punched the wall.
"You know what FP like HELL this is none of my business! You could have done so much better than this!" she said raising her voice as she looked around at his unkempt trailer. "SO MUCH BETTER!”
"You gave it all away for what? For your legacy? Your Serpent legacy? Because your father always made you feel good for nothing!?”
“As for the Serpents they’re my fucking family!!!”
"Because you needed the comfort of a fake family?”
"I DO NOT GET IT, FP!”
She had always thought all of these things but never thought she would actually say them.
“Yes Betty is your daughter but she’s fucking happy! Happier than we ever were! Don’t you want her to find someone that completes her like Jug does? Have you actually watched them together?”
"Happier than we ever were," she quoted him. "Good to know!”
She could not hide it, the hurt was too strong.
"Of course, I have but I don't want Betty hurting like-“ she stuttered. She could not stand being vulnerable.
She hated how FP always managed to find her soft spots somehow.
"I know they are," she sighed. They had been her family once, too.
"I get it, you regret it.” Her tone was haunted.
“Betty is great girl! I feel like I have a daughter! She gets along with everyone despite not being a Serpent. She’s already accepted into our family without being official.”
"She is, truly," she voiced thinking about Betty. They weren't close anymore and that made her sad.
"Jug is a great kid," she admitted. She didn't want to confess it but it was true. He always seemed to have her daughter's back, no matter what.
“Why are we always at each other’s throats?” FP said sadly.
Alice looked down. This conversation had hurt her far more than she first anticipated. She hated the idea of him not remembering their love story the way she did.
"I think-" she started but couldn't finish. She knew what she wanted to say but she also knew what she had to say to remain unattached and as unaffected from this point forward as possible. "I don't know.”
FP wasn’t sure how to respond. He just didn’t want to fight anymore. Alice waltzing back into his life was one reason why he started drinking again. She always attacked him about the past.
"I think we both know why we-" she tried again to finish her sentence. She hated the silence that was stretching out between them. "We we aren't able to act normal around each other. No matter how much time elapses.”
“We always had a volatile relationship. For our kids’ sakes we need to get along and try not to fight like cats and dogs. It’s not fair to anyone.”
"FP," she had tears in her eyes. She could not take anymore of the being tough crap.
“I just don’t want tension. That’s what I had with Gladys and Jug and JB suffered the most.”
"I don't want that either.” Tears were now steaming down her face. She felt weak.
“Honestly it’s stressing me out. Which leads to the drink. And before you say anything I’m not blaming you personally.”
She had barricaded her heart so long ago why did he always have the keys.
She looked up at him, even with her watery orbs, "I don't want you to drink…"
FP comes closer to Alice. He stands there with his arms stretched out for her to walk into his arms.
Alice was hesitant at first. His touch was everything she both wanted and feared. She got closer and felt herself engulfed by his arms. For whatever reason it made her want to cry more and not less.
He held her tightly. And whispered “we’re all going be fine. Just be happy and patient with us Jones boys.”
“I mean happy for Jug and patient with me.” FP looked down embarrassed.
She allowed herself to decompress in his tight embrace. She had not felt both more relaxed and full of emotion than she did now in this moment.
She looked at his visage pointed downwards. She flushed dark red- his touch, everything, it was all too much.
She wanted to say his name again but she held that urge in.
FP felt Alice try to move away but he held her tighter. Like she was his lifeline.
"Don't let me go," she whimpered as if she was the same angsty teenager in need of the same love, his love.
And in some way she was, under all the Northside front she put up, she was still Alice Smith.
“I’ve always been here Alice especially for you.” FP whispered.
"I've always felt like you hated me now. You would not even bear to look at me even for a second.”
“I’ve never hated you. I could never.” FP started to get emotional and it showed in his voice.
“I was trying to protect myself. You’re my kryptonite Alice Smith.” he whispered.
"F-FP," she could barely breathe. These words, they couldn't be. "I could not be your- I would hate me if I was you.”
She could not control her tears. They were now soft flowing rivers that fell from her chin.
“I couldn’t feel for you. It hurt too much. I couldn’t live with that pain. I needed to move on since you did. But I never stopped having feelings for you.” FP said softly.
She was speechless. She had no words, how could she? “B-But- E-Even now?”
She swore she was not ready for the heartbreak that she felt was going to come. She had heard his words. But her heart would not believe him.
She gazed into his midnight eyes, forcing them both to stop looking down or away.
“Yes even now but I think we need to get to know the people who we are now. Like be friends.” FP said quietly.
She looked down. She could hear her heart cracking in her chest. She had wanted him so long, so much that more time should have seemed like child's play to her by now but it wasn't, every moment was excruciatingly worse, harder to breathe.
He lifted her chin so they gazing at each other. “I know what you’re thinking. I’m not trying to hurt you. I just want to do this right.”
The tension was so omnipresent that she almost felt as if the air was opaque.
"W-What am I thinking?" she cocked her eyebrow up, even through her extreme angst and heartbreak.
She thought to herself, "how many times is he going to break my heart before he actually takes care of it?" Remembering that he was not the only one doing the breaking. She had had her fair share, if not more.
“That I’m breaking your heart and trying to let you down easy.” He said.
She cried. "Why am I so over-emotional around you?" she said so softly that FP barely was able to decipher her words audibly.
FP caressed her cheek and said “I truly do love you and want to be with you and finally have our happily ever after.”
"Please, FP," she sobbed.
“We’ll always be special to each other. All the more reason to go slow.” He said affectionately.
She didn't even know what she was asking for anymore.
"Yes," she lied. She was scared to close her eyes and open them again to an empty trailer.
A Kingless Southside and another eternity with no happily ever after.
She didn't want slow but she was not going to push him.
"I ache for you…" she whispered softly.
“Alice please understand. I want us to last this time. I won’t survive if I lose you again.” He said pleadingly.
She broke at the genuineness of his words. She understood all too well the sentiment.
"I cannot lose you either, even the thought haunts me.” Her eyes filled with more tears. She wondered if she was ever going to stop fucking crying.
“Then we’ll take it slow. Plus we need to think about the kids. Show them we can be around each other without fighting.” FP said reasonably.
"Okay, f-friends?" Her voice shattered into a million pieces at the words.
“I love you with every fibre of my being Alice Smith. I always need and want you but I think this is the responsible thing to do.” He said passionately.
She wanted to disappear but she understood why he said what he said, no matter how much she just wanted to glide her fingers through his onyx hair and feel everything again more than just emotionally.
"I-I love you, Forsythe.” She said softly.
FP started playing with her hair and rubbed her back. He tried to soothe her as best he could.
She revelled in his touch. He had always been so good at calming her.
“Let’s sit down. You’re the best thing other than my kids and the Serpents in my life.” FP stated.
She loved the way his nimble fingers felt on her back. She was sucked into a time warp that brought her back to hallway kisses and hugs in high school. She backed away from him, in no way ready to let him go, and sat down unsteadily.
FP brought her closer to him once again. He put his arm around her.
She wrapped her arms around him this time much tighter, as if her life depended on it and maybe it did. He smelled of whisky and beer and pine. And the scent of his leather Serpent coat that she had always remembered.
He started playing with her hair again knowing it calmed her. He never forgot anything about Alice Smith.
She brushed her nails softly on his back. "I'm still so scared!”
FP was trying his best to soothe the love of his life without caving and kissing her. “I’m not going anywhere. There’s no reason to be scared Ali.”
She breathed into his chest, her warm breath caressing him as she continued to grasp him harder in her arms. She knew that he knew how weak the nickname "Ali" made her.
"Thank you.” Alice whispered.
“Anything for you. I’d never abandon you. It would kill me to do so.” He said with conviction.
"I am not letting you go this time, FP. I promise.” She said with a smile.
“Please never do. I can’t lose this, lose you. It nearly broke me the first time. And promise I’ll always be here no matter what.” He said.
She searched for his hand and intertwined her fingers with his as she shifted her eyes upwards, blue against black, "I will not. I'm in love with you and I can't break you or me like that again.”
He squeezed her hand back. Looking at her he said “Good. Let’s not implode like we’re so famous for. Let’s prove to ourselves and everyone in our lives that we’re truly meant to be.”
She knew, deep down, that he did not fully trust her, that it would take time and she was willing to show him that, matter what. "Yes, I want you forever.”
“We owe to ourselves to make this work for the long haul. And that’s why I suggested being friends and go slow.” FP said softly.
"Yes, FP, I get it!" she snarled in his chest. But then out a small laugh to ease the mood once more.
FP chuckled. “Alice I know you don’t agree and don’t like me repeating myself. You never did.”
"Mhm," she said. She decided not to say anything in return.
FP tried to think of what to say. “Alice how about we start with a family dinner?”
"Because that went so well last time!” She chuckled. "Yes, I would love that.”
“Well you definitely have a good point. But I think we should try again. We’re talking quite civilly right now so we know it’s possible.” FP chuckled.
She touched his jaw and then his cheek and sighed. "Yes, it's possible. Who would have known?”
His eyes still burned in hers far too much. She would NEVER get used to this sensation.
“I always knew we had it in us as long as we could stop screaming at each other. We always get onto subjects that trigger anger.” He said softly.
"And let's face it we are both easily offended! Especially when coming to each other! And especially you!” She laughed but she knew that maybe that was a lie in itself.
“I definitely won’t argue with that. We know how to push each other’s buttons.” FP chuckled.
Alice smirks. For more than one reason. “Yes."
FP smirked back. “I know what you’re thinking. You’re still a sneaky snake.”
"Shut it, like you don't miss it!” She blushed way too hard and looked away.
“I’m not denying it anything.” He laughed.
She felt weak in the knees. “Monday? Dinner?”
“Monday is perfect. I’ll inform Jug and JB.” He said happily.
"Okay, 6ish?” She asked.
“Yes. Sounds good. What shall I make?” He asked.
"You want to cook something? You burnt macaroni and cheese when we were first together?"She was in hysterics.
“I actually learned to cook thank you very much.” He defended.
"I'll believe it when I see it, alky!” She wondered if the nickname would bother him. She sighed. It probably would. "Damn," she thought to herself. "I didn't mean the alky part.” She knew she was digging a deeper hole at that point. Whatever she had always had a sharp tongue.
FP rolled his eyes at her. “Alice are you trying to get a rise out of me? It’s not going to work this time. I have calmed down over the years believe it or not. As long as I’m not provoked.”
"Maybe," she said with a cute, sly smile that covered her whole face.
He chuckled and actually smiled. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”
She never understood why she liked to get a rise out of him so much. "You always make me flustered so effortlessly.”
"You're always handsome, FP.”
“We both have that effect on each other. It’s a gift and a curse I suppose.” He chuckled at his own words. How true they were. “You’re always beautiful in my eyes even at a distance.”
She blushes again at the nickname. "This is real, right?" There was a sadness in her voice and a fear that FP had never heard. Hal had hurt her in more ways than one and she didn't even love him even half as much as she loves FP.
FP gets off the sofa and kneels down and looks up at her. “Everything is real for us. Ali you’re beyond my wildest dreams. I never thought I’d get another chance.”
Alice started to cry. Yes. Again.
“I’m not Hal. I promise you won’t regret this.” He said.
"Hal- he-," she cried. "He was not always so nice. He was abusive in more ways than one.”
“I know he wasn’t. I could see it in your eyes when you looked at him. I wish he never hurt you ever.” FP said.
"I haven't been touched by a man that loves me truly since you.” She said sadly.
“You’re too precious for words. You never deserved that treatment. You’ve been treated like a queen.” He said with promise.
"I trust you.” Alice said affectionately.
“I’ll never hurt you. I’m sure we’ll still fight but I’d never touch you that way ever.” He said with conviction,
Alice looked down and laughed because of how deeply she was blushing. She was never good at taking compliments. Especially not from him. "I know you won't FP, I just it's scary, everything is.”
“I’m happy to hear you trust me. I’ll do everything in my power to treat you like a queen.” He said happily.
She almost jumped into his arms and hugged him hard. She didn't know what to say. "I'm sorry, you're just so-so amazing.” She stuttered out.
“So are you Ali. Always have been.” FP said with love.
Alice let go and got closer to the door. She knew she had to leave, the more she was around FP the more she wanted to just beg him to kiss her. "So, Monday?” She trembled slightly, almost unnoticeably but FP of course noticed.
“Yes Monday at 6. I’ll surprise you with the meal.” He said while smiling like a loon.
"Okay, handsome!" she laughed. She watched him carefully as she almost opened the door. "And FP?”
FP turned a bit pink and looked at her. “Yeah?”
She opened the door to make sure he probably wouldn't have time to reply since she was way too shy. "I love you," she said softly and quickly as the blush flushed her cheeks. She started to try to leave and step out of the door.
His eyes went a bit wide. “Ali I love you too.” FP smiled at her.
She smiled extremely hard and closed the door, fingers still trembling. Thousands of thoughts ran through her brain. She was both excited and terrified for Monday. It was only 2 days away.
FP was still sitting on the sofa wondering if this was happening. He pinched himself and grimaced from the pain. He really was looking forward to starting over with Alice. And FP couldn’t wait to start the new chapter of his Alice story.
Alice went home and slept in the middle of the bed, trying to convince herself she was okay with the fact that FP wasn't beside her for now.