I have this story posted out on AFF, and I will soon be posting it on my DeviantArt and Livejournal pages. No flames, please.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Archie fandom. The characters contained in this story belong to Archies Comics. I'm not making any money to write this work of fanfiction.
Authors Note: I was feeling this plot possibility for a while when I was in the middle of writing Pigtails. This story is less about the different guys who like Betty, or her rivalry with Ron, and more about how Betty feels about Reggie as a whole. This is kind of a companion piece to Pigtails, almost a what-if. Its an AU, not particularly canon, to an extent, because Im ignoring some of the common, popular background pairings. Thats how I roll. Get used to it.
Stop. Where are you going with those?
Outside. Alice stared down at her twelve-year-old daughter quizzically, deciding Betty had been too quiet all day. She looked like she was up to something.
Not just one, but two melting twin pops, fresh out of their clear cellophane wrappers, were clenched in her hands. Alice shook her head.
Not before dinner. And just one.
I want to share the other one, Betty explained quickly.
Dinners in a half an hour. Alice backed off her end of the discussion long enough to check the roast she had in the oven. Which friend?
Betty hedged, and her cheeks turned beet red.
Ah. It made sense to Alice in that moment that it was wiser not to ask too many questions.
You can give Juggie a popsicle if you want, but thats it. Just one. Betty almost laughed with relief. Her mother drew her own conclusion, and she hadnt been found out.
Jughead was Alices logical conclusion. Betty and Forsythe, indolent, scabby-kneed, skinny and owning the appetite of a three-hundred-pound truck driver, were thick as thieves. He was often her partner in crime for trips to the park to play with his remote control cars; comic collecting; going to the penny candy store; fishing in the creek with nets; watching Mighty Mouse cartoons and reruns of the Six Million Dollar Man, and jumping into more tomboyish pursuits than her mother could even catalog.
Why wouldnt she give Juggie a popsicle? Betty hurried out the back screen door, letting it slam shut. Careful with that door!
Sorry! Betty offered without turning back. She was off and running, out of the back yard and through the side fence. She elbowed open the latch to avoid dropping the twin pops.
Automatically, she headed next door. She beamed when she noticed a familiar five-speed bike in the driveway. Good. He was home. Her cheeks flushed again, and her stomach fluttered as she skipped up the front steps and hit the doorbell with her pinkie.
Get the door, sweetie, Betty heard Mrs. Mantle cry from the back of the house. Bettys heart hammered and she licked a drop of cool, sticky red juice from her hand while she waited.
Cmon, cmoncmoncmon, she muttered under her breath. A sudden rush of footsteps from behind the door both thrilled and terrified her. The front door was tugged open after she saw the edge of a shaggy black head peek through the ruffled curtains in the window.
Reggie stood before her, hand on the screen door handle, brows drawing together. What do you want?
Hey. He nodded to her hands. Where did you get those?
My house. Come outside. Have one with me. She ignored his exasperated little sigh and wanted to dance with glee when he opened the door and stalked out onto the porch steps.
His summer tan was fading a bit from spending the past three days inside. The long, thick cast that covered his arm from knuckles to elbow was the culprit. Reggies mother was protective of him and refused to let him back out onto the ball field with a busted radius and fractured wrist. Reggies dark waves of hair were slightly tousled and mashed in the back from lying back against the couch cushions. He automatically reached for the red popsicle but hesitated. Which one did you lick already?
The purple one, she lied. Betty licked both of them to catch the drips; it couldnt be helped. She handed it to him. Here. She sat on the top step of the porch and sucked on the twin pop noisily. Grudgingly he sat beside her.
Whatve you been doing all day?
Nothing. Hung out with Jug earlier. I read his new Spider-Ham today.
Spider-Hams lame, Reggie sneered, shaking his head. Betty elbowed him.
No hes not! I love Spider-Ham! Hes funny!
LAAAAME, Reggie protested. He temporarily held his popsicle with his bad hand and made a loser L with his finger and thumb over his forehead.
Youre missing out, she assured him as she went back to her pop, but she was suppressing a grin.
What else did you read at Jugs, the Care Bears? Reggie prodded, smirking as he bumped up against her with his shoulder.
No, she huffed. Please. Theyre so sissy. Yuck.
So? You are sissy, he shrugged.
Sissy, he pronounced.
Wuss. Im not the one in a cast. And you throw like a girl, she accused.
No, I dont! he snapped, but she grinned at him. YOU throw like a girl! Hello. But to her credit, Betty had a wicked curve ball, and shed outpitched them all, including Big Moose.
So? Whats your excuse? Betty caught the drips from her twin pop and smirked at him with purple lips.
Betty eyed his cast, poring over all of the scribbles; there was hardly any blank space left on the orange plaster. Who drew all the little hearts? she pressed. Reggie chuckled and wrinkled his nose in disgust.
Ronnie and Midge. At least they didnt make flowers or Smurfs or other girly stuff. But he sounded a little proud, regardless.
What are you doing today?
Nothing. I did my paper route this morning, even though I can only throw with one arm. It sucked.
Maybe I can help next time.
I dont need any help, it just took longer, thats all, he argued. What did you do? His expression looked slightly doubtful, as though she couldnt have done anything that impressive, but shed saved him from further boredom; Reggie hated being cooped up inside alone.
Eh. Nothing much. Nothing hed be interested in hearing about, Betty decided. She spent a great deal of her morning cleaning out her closet of clothes that she had outgrown, helping her mother bag them up for Goodwill to make room for new ones. She searched for other topics of discussion, anything to justify hanging out on his porch.
It was a useless effort.
REG! They both turned at the sound of Chuck Claytons voice and the whizzing of his bike wheels as he sped up Reggies driveway. Betty waved, but for the most part he ignored her. Dude, whats goin on? When do you get that thing off?
Im benched til school starts, Reggie muttered miserably.
You cant even swim? Were going to the lake. My dads bringing the grill.
That sounds cool, Betty chimed in.
Whats up, Cooper? Did you come over to nurse little Reggie back to health? Chuck teased, and his voice rose to a girly pitch, no big stretch since he was only twelve. Can I fluff your pillow, sweetie pie?
Shut up! Betty retorted, and her cheeks flushed a deep scarlet. Why did boys have to be such jerks?!?
Yeah, Betty? Whats up? I dont need any girl babying me!
Sure looks like it, Chuck accused. Betty shied away from Reggie, now embarrassed to be caught sitting beside him, resenting the sneer twisting her crushs features.
Whatever, she tsked.
Cmon, man. Were going to the lake at three.
Ive gotta ask my mom. I cant get my cast wet.
Who else is going? Betty inquired.
Not you, he mocked.
So why do you wanna know?
I was just asking a question, Betty told him haughtily. Whatever.
Is that all you know how to say? Reggie added. His dark brown eyes were full of laughter, and if she wasnt ready to kick him in the shins, he would have been cute.
Bye, Betty offered. I know how to say that, too. She trotted down the steps and stalked back into her own yard, fuming.
Oooooo, Chuck crowed. She looks ticked.
Eh. Yeah. Reggie bit a huge chunk from his pop, feeling slightly guilty. Who else is going, anyway?
Huh? Nobody. Just Arch, Jug and Moose, mostly.
Mostly? Reggies ears perked up. Who else, dude?
Nobody, Chuck huffed.
Cmon, man, were bros.
I asked Nancy if she wanted to come, Chuck confessed.
Cmon! She goes to our church! My parents told me to ask her, he explained hastily, throwing out his hands. But Reggie wasnt about to let go of the bone that Chuck threw out there.
Chuck likes Nancy
Shut up, dude! Chuck made shushing gestures at him, to no avail.
CHUCK LIKES NANCY! Aw, man! Im telling everybody!
You aint right.
Betty stomped into the house and headed for her room. Alice looked up from the shirt she was ironing in the kitchen, slightly confused.
Didnt you just go out?
Im going back out in a sec, Betty called back.
That was fast.
Its no big deal.
Dont stay out too long. Were going to the doctor in an hour. I need to get your school physical done.
Aw! Mom! Betty hated going to the doctors. Every year, her checkups got more embarrassing, and Dr. Brown asked her more prying questions. Even worse, she felt awkward having to take off her clothes, feeling more modest about her body, which was changing. Sometimes her bones ached. Sometimes her chest hurt, and her mother brought her a handful of training bras. Betty wanted to hide behind the clothing racks when her mother began holding them up to her to check the size. Betty had grown two inches taller over the summer, but her pants werent just high-water anymore; they were tighter around the hips, meriting a trip to the juniors section when her mother took her to buy school clothes.
I wanna go hang out with Ron.
You can call her when you get home, honey.
I just want to go over for a little bit! Im going to wear my skates, Betty insisted as she rummaged in the bottom of her cluttered closet for them, chucking out several pairs of sneakers, stuffed animals, and clothing that had fallen to the floor from not being buttoned properly on the hangers.
Watch the clock, Speedy.
Betty jerked her battered, custom-made skates onto her feet, flicking one of the royal blue, polyurethane wheels to hear the ball bearings spin. She laced them up tightly, wrapping the extra length of the laces around the tops of the boots to keep herself from tripping over them. She picked up the abandoned popsicle that shed set on top of the tissue box for safekeeping, not caring that it had dripped a little, and Betty scooted out the door, skating across the hardwood floor.
BETTY! No skates in the house!
Im leaving the house, she called over her shoulder. Ill be back soon!
Brat, Alice muttered under her breath. Whats gotten into that girl? What was it about hitting puberty that made kids lose their minds?
Betty zipped down her front walk, studiously ignoring Chuck and Reggie as she took off.
Dang. Look at her go, Chuck whistled.
The sight of her long, fair legs in cut-off shorts flashing by impressed him, but he jerked his eyes away when Chuck almost caught him staring. He crunched down on the rest of the red popsicle, ignoring the brain freeze.