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I'm Sorry, What?

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Monday, 9:43AM

 

One curl falls beneath his gray crown beanie, against the back of his tanned neck and Betty fights the urge to reach out and touch it, to feel the softness of his hair between her fingers.

 

She’s biting the cap of her pen, her mind wandering past the Appalachian Mountains and the geographical facts that coincide, a topic the class is currently discussing, to where she thinks he keeps that crown beanie when he’s not wearing it.

 

Does it hang on his bedpost while he sleeps? Does he shove it in his backpack as soon as he gets home, finally free to be himself? Does it lay on the bathroom countertop when he takes a shower?

 

Betty’s cheeks burn the lightest shade of pink as her mind wanders to the steam in his shower, the hot water dripping down his toned and bare-

 

“Ms. Cooper?”

 

The pen cap falls from her mouth as Betty immediately lifts her gaze to her teacher who is standing at the front of the classroom, a questioning expression on her face.

 

Her classmates who aren’t secretly texting under their desks turn to look at her, but Betty’s eyes are fixated on the chalkboard, her ears ringing as she sees out of the corner of her eye the gray beanie in front of her shift in his seat.

 

“I’m sorry...what?” 


 Tuesday, 12:36PM

 

“If I had more time to practice, I'd basically be able to write an entire album,” Archie is saying and Veronica is smiling and nodding as if he’s talking about the most stimulating and entertaining topic she’s ever heard and Betty has to give it to her, she’s quite impressive at faking interest.  

 

Betty attempts to replicate Veronica’s smile and nod along as well, but he walks in and Betty’s eyes drag to the door of the cafeteria where he’s currently talking to another Serpent.

 

They laugh at something he’s said and Betty’s heart catches in her throat, his laughter melodic and rare.

 

She wonders if she’d have found that joke funny, was he being sarcastic? Or was it a clever pun that had his Serpent brother grinning?

 

“Betty,” Veronica’s calling her name, her eyes wide in a “help me” way and Betty immediately tunes back into the conversation.

 

“Archie, maybe you need to buy a planner-” but her voice falters before falling off completely as he and his friends make their way past Betty's table, his gaze meetings hers for the briefest of moments.  

 

“Easy, how?” Archie asks, his eyebrows furrowing in frustration as Betty immediately grabs her bottled water to take a sip.

 

“I’m sorry...what?”


Wednesday, 3:47PM

 

River Vixen practice has never been more draining, dragging on and on and making Betty wish she’d faked a stomach ache after school today.

 

“Again!” Cheryl snaps, her arms folded and her bright red lips pursed as the vixens back up into formation. A small smile flits across her face when her eyes meet Toni’s, but it immediately falls back into a frown as the formation quickly disappoints.

 

Betty wipes the sweat from her brow as she tries to catch her breath, glancing up at the bleachers where the Serpents have currently entered, laughing and talking loudly as they find seats amongst the empty space.

 

His hands are shoved in the pockets of his leather jacket and he takes a seat on a higher bleacher than the rest, his legs kicked out on the bleacher below him.

 

“Betty, hello? You’re sloppy at best today and it’s embarrassing.”

 

He’s pulled off his beanie now, his fingers running slowly through his hair before he tugs it back on. His eyes drift towards the vixens and Betty bites her lip, immediately wondering if he finds cheerleaders attractive.  If he finds blonde cheerleaders attractive...

 

“Betty!” Cheryl snaps her fingers loudly in her face, breaking the gaze he had just met.

 

“Sorry!” Betty sucks in a breath and quickly whips her head towards a clearly irritated Cheryl, “...what?”


Thursday, 8:10AM

 

Ten minutes late.

 

Betty has never been late for anything a day in her life and here she is, ten minutes late, her books falling from her normally pristinely organized locker.

 

“Shit, shit, shit,” she whispers to herself, kneeling down to pile them together with one hand, the other hand clutching a desperately needed (although now fully regrettable) Americano.

 

His signature black combat boots stop in front of her before kneeling down to pick up a few loose pieces of paper that had drifted from her binder.

 

Her eyes lift to his when he holds out his hand, offering her the sheets of paper, a small smile on his face.

 

“Thanks, Sweet Pea,” she says softly, the pounding of her heart fading upon realizing it’s not him, but one of his brothers.

 

“Late to class, tsk tsk Betty Cooper,” Sweet Pea grins, offering to hold her coffee as she stands and attempts to reorganize.

 

“I’m having one hell of a morning,” she sighs, slamming her locker shut and brushing a few loose strands of hair behind her ear, “as if you couldn’t already tell.”

 

She takes her coffee from him just as another Serpent turns down the hallway and Betty immediately looks down, her breath catching in her throat when she recognizes him.

 

“Jones, you on your way to Mcclellan’s class or are you skipping that shit today?”

 

Jughead’s lips tilt into a smirk that makes Betty draw her bottom lip between her teeth, a warmth pooling in her stomach she hadn’t felt only seconds before.

 

He kneels down and picks up a light pink and gold etched pen that had rolled from Betty’s backpack when she’d first arrived, walking up and offering it to her with a small smile.

 

Blinking, she lifts her hand to take it, her fingers brushing his just barely, the electricity she feels making her quickly shove the pen into her back pocket, before he nods to Sweet Pea and continues down the hallway.

 

“Wow,” Sweet Pea laughs, raising both eyebrows and shoving his hands into the pockets of his jean jacket, “the princess of Riverdale has a thing for our very own Serpent Prince.”

 

Betty quickly whips her head back to him, her ponytail swinging behind her as her eyebrows furrow, “I’m sorry...uh, no... what?”


Friday, 7:14PM

 

“You look gorgeous, babe.”

 

Veronica smiles at Betty and takes a step back to admire her work. It’s the opening game and Betty is fully decked out in her brand new and fitted River Vixen cheerleading outfit, high bouncy ponytail, and light pink lipstick.

 

She giggles, twirling once to show off all sides, before the locker room door slams open and Cheryl walks in, arms folded across her chest and wearing a stern take-no-shit facial expression.

 

“Ready, ladies?” Toni runs her tongue along her bottom lip, grinning at her girlfriend and Cheryl's tough facade breaks temporarily to blow Toni a kiss.

 

As they rush onto the field, Betty dragging a bit as it’s her first game as a Vixen and she’d be lying if she said she wasn’t nervous, the crowd headed to their seats intermingles with them and Betty slams into a tall, lanky body.

 

She feels the arm wrap around her waist just before she falls and she quickly rights herself, stepping out of the guy’s grasp.

 

“Fuck, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you-”

 

Her eyes widen when she realizes the ever-so-helpful arm belongs to that of Jughead Jones.

 

He’s rubbing the back of his neck, a look of concern clear on his face as he waits for her to say something…

 

Anything, Betty, come on...use your words!

 

“It’s no problem, Jughead,” she finally breathes, a sparkling smile replacing the grimace that had fallen on her face when she’d slammed into him, “it’s pretty crowded tonight.”

 

He’s smiling now, adjusting his crown beanie as he steps closer to her in an effort to get out of the rushing crowd’s way.

 

“I really want to make a comment about how cliche and Friday Night Lights this situation is, but-” he laughs teasingly and motions to her clearly cliche high school cheerleading outfit.

 

Her cheeks burn but she giggles in response, “you’re probably the first guy to ever not like a cheerleading outfit.”

 

“I didn’t say I didn’t like it.”

 

His tongue brushes against his top lip as her mouth parts in surprise and he chuckles nervously, that same hand rubbing the back of his neck.

 

She knows her cheeks are flushed pink and not because of the chilly breeze brushing past them, but now his lips are moving and she can barely hear him and she’s leaning closer to him and -

 

“What?”

 

“I said,” he grins at her, and shoves his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, “I think you’re missing your opening cheer.”

 

“Shit!” she squeals, noting the way the girls are jogging into formation, knowing she has less than a minute, and flashing him her most dazzling apologetic Betty Cooper smile as she makes to walk past him.

 

“Cooper!” he calls out and she feels the adrenaline already racing through her body intensify as she stops and turns her head towards the sound.

 

He’s jogging to catch up to her and when he stops, the beat to the Vixens’ opening number drops, but Betty’s long forgotten the reason she’s even at this game tonight.

 

His eyes are the stormiest shade of blue she’s ever fallen into and she smiles encouragingly, biting her lip as he glances behind her at the start of the Vixen’s cheer.

 

“I just…” he pulls his beanie from his head and runs his fingers through his hair nervously, before he finally shrugs, smiling as he says, “I just wanted to let you know...I’ve noticed you too.”

 

"I'm sorry..." she says, her voice thick with surprise, as he tugs on his beanie and turns around, leaving her to stare at the Southside Serpent emblem stitched onto the back of his leather jacket as he saunters away, and she whispers happily to herself, "what?" 

Chapter Text

Monday, 8:57AM

 

Nothing reminds Jughead that he is in desperate need of a haircut like her sitting almost directly behind him in their AP Geography class.

 

He’s pinching a point of his worn crown beanie, rolling it lazily between his fingers, as she walks by him, gripping her pastel pink binder to her chest before sliding into her seat.

 

His hand falls to the back of his neck, needing to ease his nerves as class begins, but he immediately feels his dark wild curls peaking out from beneath his beanie and his cheeks redden.

 

You need a haircut, boy.

 

He’d rolled his eyes at his father’s remark last weekend, but now that he can hear her scribbling away in her notebook, he’s hyper aware of how right his father may be.

 

Maybe she likes long hair? It’s not like it’s that long, his hand drops and he takes up tapping his pen lightly against his notebook as his mind wanders, no, she’s definitely not into long hair, that’s why she’s always with that Andrews guy.

 

He attempts to tune into the mountainous landscapes their teacher is droning on about, his fingers absentmindedly raising back to the crown point on his beanie.

 

But maybe she could be into long hair? A small smile plays on his face as he thinks about the far-fetched possibility of her running her fingers through his hair, playfully tugging on the curl at the base of his neck as they kiss, yanking a bit harder when things get a bit more heated...

 

“Jughead? Hello, I need a pen? Jughead?” Ethel is whispering to him, wiggling her fingers near his face to grasp his attention.


“Shit, sorry! What?”


Tuesday, 2:57PM

 

“I expect nothing less than perfection from the squad,” Cheryl is saying as her, Toni, and Jughead head out to the parking lot, “I can’t help that you’re the only person who meets my standards.”

 

His hands are shoved into the pockets of his leather jacket, their conversation fading as he glances around the parking lot. His motorcycle remains untouched in its usual spot and he’s about to tell them he’ll see them tomorrow when her name catches his attention.

 

“...Betty has really been improving and I think you just need to ease up on her a bit, babe,” Toni is saying, squeezing Cheryl’s hand affectionately.

 

“Betty’s a cheerleader?”

 

They stop in the middle of the parking lot as Cheryl arches an eyebrow in his direction and Toni smiles at him, curiosity coloring her gaze.

 

“She’s basically a cheerleader trainee, but yes, she’s a River Vixen-”

 

“Why do you ask? I didn’t know you knew Betty Cooper,” Toni interrupts her girlfriend and immediately Jughead wishes he had simply said his goodbyes and headed home. His cheeks are pink as he glances wearily between them and shrugs, adjusting his jacket like metaphorical shield.

 

“Yeah, she’s in my geography class or something,” he quickly says, wondering where the hell Pea is when he needs him as he rubs the back of his neck, “anyone else I know on the squad?”

 

Nice save.  

 

“I really don’t have time to relay the roster to you, Jughead,” Cheryl snaps, turning to place a soft kiss on Toni’s temple before smiling sweetly at him, “but I’m sure Toni will fill you in.”

 

She turns to walk to her car and he tries to avoid Toni’s stare as the flush in his cheeks only deepens.

 

“Well, I’ll see you later too-”

 

“Ohmygod,” she breathes, giggling once Cheryl is out of earshot, “you like Betty Cooper!”

 

He tugs on his beanie, shaking his head as a nervous chuckle escapes him, “uh...no...what?”


 Wednesday, 7:42PM

 

Large pile of hot, freshly salted fries. Cheeseburger, double cheese, with the works. Extra chocolate milkshake with a cherry perfectly perched atop of swirl of whipped cream.

 

He literally could not be more excited about the meal in front of him, taking a moment to appreciate Pop for all of the good he’s done in this world just by simply existing…and, of course,  bringing this plate of food out.

 

“I will never understand how you can put away all that food and still be able to fit into any of your clothes,” Jellybean teases, dipping her fry into her vanilla milkshake a few times.

 

“I was born with a gift, JB, it would be a shame for me not to put it to good use,” he grins in return, taking a huge bite out of the cheeseburger, ketchup dripping onto his chin.

 

It’s then that he hears her giggle as she slips into the booth in front of him, hugging Veronica Lodge, who is seated next to the window on the bench seat they’ll share. There’s a frosty strawberry shake sitting in front of Betty, having already been ordered by her friends.

 

Her finger slips into the whipped cream before she steals an apprehensive glance at the other girls, who are currently looking at pictures on Veronica’s phone, and pops her finger into her mouth.

 

Her lips wrap around it in a perfect “o” as she sucks the whipped cream off and Jughead’s mind is nowhere near Pop’s Diner anymore. He’s back in the darkness of his trailer and her mouth, illuminated by the light of the moon, is wrapped around something a bit larger than her finger.

 

He groans inwardly, glancing down at the burger still gripped tightly between his fingers dripping ketchup onto his plate, in sheer disbelief at how immediate he had turned into an average teenage Neanderthal.

 

“Jughead? Hi, it’s your sister, Jellybean. You probably don’t remember me since you seem to have landed on planet Betty Cooper, never to return again,” Jellybean giggles, rolling her eyes at his currently distraught state.

 

“Sorry, JB!” he shakes his head, grabbing a napkin to wipe the smear of bright red sauce from his chin, “wait, what?”


Thursday, 7:47AM

 

The aroma of vanilla with a hint of honey is so faint he almost doesn’t notice it.

 

But then it surrounds him like a warm, comforting blanket on a chilly evening and he can’t help but shift his gaze to where she’s just walked past him.

 

Sweet Pea is leaning against the locker in front of him, chattering away about an old bike he’d seen strewn carelessly on the side of the road earlier this morning, but Jughead’s focus is elsewhere and his words fall on deaf ears.

 

She’s stopped in the middle of the hallway, her books pressed against her chest and her ponytail swinging lightly behind her as she giggles at something her friend is saying.

 

He finds himself wondering what it is that makes her smile so brightly at such an ungodly hour in the morning. Not even the hottest, largest, highest caffeinated cup of coffee could get him to smile this early, that’s for sure.

 

She glances in his direction, a curious smile now tugging at the corners of her mouth and he quickly brings his focus back to Sweet Pea, attempting to ignore the heat rising in his cheeks.

 

“Jones?” Sweet Pea raises an eyebrow, a playful sigh escaping his lips as he shakes his head, “I seriously don’t know why I bother talking to you before noon, man.”

 

“Shit, sorry, what?”


Friday, 10:49PM

 

The last thing Jughead has planned for his weekend is a Riverdale Bulldog after party.

 

And yet here he is, casually walking into an already-in-full-swing celebration at Thornhill. It’s dark and the music is blaring, making him and his Serpent brothers unnoticeable as they walk towards the kitchen, but he still feels out of place.

 

Arms wrap around his neck in an overjoyed drunken hug and a small, relieved smile falls on his lips when he realizes it’s Toni.

 

“I’m so happy you came! Let me get you all drinks!”

 

She quickly hugs Fangs and Sweet Pea, leading them all into an empty, yet also dark and loud kitchen.

 

She’s thanking them profusely for supporting her and attending the game and he wants to tell her that of course they support her. No Serpent left behind.

 

But she has just walked into the kitchen, a red solo cup firmly in her grip, and when her eyes meet his, his breathing shallows.

 

She walks over to him, resting the cup on the table as she offers him another bright smile.

 

“Wow, a football game and an after party?” she says, tilting her head as she teases, “you’re almost more Friday Night Lights than me now.”

 

He looks down, trying to play off the grin on his face before he raises his eyes to meet hers once more. She’s wearing a River Vixen t-shirt and jeans and he really wants to tell her how beautiful she looks.

But his nerves get the best of him and he clears his throat, now noticing that his friends are long gone, leaving him alone with her.

 

“Want me to get you a drink?” he asks her, offering her a soft smile, “must be a little dehydrated after all of that cheering.”

 

“I thought I saw you out there watching me,” she tilts her head and smirks playfully, making him roll his eyes as his heart skips a beat.

 

“You’re hard to miss, Betts.”

 

He runs his tongue along his bottom lip before offering a small smile and the smile reflected on her face is so genuine he can almost hear his heart pounding above the music.

 

She turns, grabbing a napkin and a pen so that she can jot something down. He glances towards the water bottles resting on the counter, uncertain of whether this is where the conversation ends.

 

But then she’s handing him the napkin and leaning into him a bit more to say, “I’m leaving now, but in case you’d ever like to do something other than notice me.”

 

She’s gone before he can reply, but her phone number is written on the napkin, and he’s definitely not hiding the grin on his face as he run his fingers through his hair, “wow, what?”