A/N: I don't usually do A/N's, but I just want to thank my reviewers (all six of them). I don't beg for reviews, but I do appreciate when people take the time to tell me I'm doing it right.
I had, in college, done a complete turnaround from my high school days. I'll admit, I was like a man possessed. My first experience with sex was not unpleasant, but I still could not shake Betty from my mind. So it became a game of sorts. I was on a conquest. I would sleep with as many girls as I could until I found the one that would erase Betty's image. I was, of all things, a psychology major, so I was totally aware of how screwed up I was. I was never mean to any of my girlfriends. I never had a one night stand or cheated on anyone, unless you count my wandering mind's visions during orgasm. But I was never able to keep a relationship going for over a few months.
I was recruited by the FBI directly out of college and entered my position as a profiler for the VCS upon graduation from Quantico. I made excuses not to go home. I'd bring my family up for holidays. I kept in touch with Archie, but not with anyone else. He took Chucks dad's place as head coach at Riverdale High once he got out of college. He'd finally chosen Veronica. I didn't ask how Betty took the news. Archie mentioned her a couple times in his email. At one point she came back to Riverdale when her mother got sick, to take care of her. Her mother passed away. I did not go back, blaming my work. Inside I felt horrible for not being there. She went back to Michigan after the funeral. I only hoped that she had someone to go back to.
I ignored the invitation sitting on my desk as long as I could. I knew what it was. The dreaded 10th year high school reunion. I fought with myself for two weeks before finally picking up the phone and calling Ms. Grundy to let her know that I would be coming. I knew that I could not stay away forever, the psychologist in me told me to go and deal with my problems head on.
The 15th of October found me standing in O'Hare on a two hour layover. I was nursing a drink from the airport bar that wasn't really having the desired affect on me. I was beginning to be a bit more than tempted to call my old friend Jimmy and have him call in a prescription for Quaaludes to the nearest drugstore for me. Hiding out had worked pretty well for me. I was actually to the point that I didn't think about what could have been all the time. I was a fully functioning human being, thank you very much. But now I was going back with nothing to hide behind. My hat was long gone, my obsession with food did not agree with my midsection, so it had slowly disappeared, and even my name was gone. Jughead just isn't the sort of name that follows you into the FBI, but Forsythe Pendleton Jones isn't really a name you want your friends calling you either. In college, and at work, I was simply "Jones". Most of the people who know me better just call me Sy. I wondered if I could just fall back into being "Jughead" again.
I made my way to the concourse to catch the plane that would take me back in time. I was lost in thought and shuffling along when I heard it.
"Jug?" That voice. That voice. It echoed through my ears and made my knees puddle. I turned around with a swish to face the sweet lips that had let loose that sound. She stood there. Her hair was short now, still blonde, but cut above her shoulders, framing her face. Otherwise she looked almost the same. She stood there beaming at me.
"Oh my god! It is you. Oh, god Jug! You look wonderful." She was in my arms in an instant. I hugged her dumbly, at a loss for words. I did a quick scan of the area and found no one looking on in disdain.
"H-hi, Betty. Uh, fancy meeting you here, " I finished lamely. Oh god, how pathetic.
"Yeah. I couldn't get a single flight that did not have a layover in Chicago. Where are you heading?"
"G-gate D," I stuttered, trying to figure out how I suddenly developed a speech impediment.
"Really! Great. Me too! How wonderful." Same Betty, bubbly as ever. It was really great to see her, hear her and feel her again. We made our way to gate D, got our passes and took our seats in the waiting area. We made small talk as we waited, talking about Riverdale, the gang, and the "good old days". Fifteen seconds of good old American Federal Bureau of Investigation training told me she wasn't married. She didn't have a ring, not even an engagement ring. Ten years out of high school and Betty Cooper wasn't married. I was amazed. I was saddened. I was ecstatic. Don't get me wrong, I felt bad that Betty had never found Mr. Right, but unless she had Mr. Right-in-training stashed away at home, the playing field was open. Unfortunately every time I opened my mouth to move the conversation in that direction, my brain interfered. I had no idea of what to say and not sound like I was quoting something from some cliche-filled 80's big screen romance. So, once again, my feelings were left unsaid as I nodded and stuck to the safe topics of nostalgia and "what I did when I grew up".
Betty, I wasn't surprised to learn, was a teacher. Actually she was a speech therapist. She was on sabbatical this year to complete a study at the university where she'd received her degree.
"It's nice, but Gram and Pops moved to Florida last summer," she sighed. "I've got some good friends and some wonderful colleagues, but it has never felt like, you know, home." I nodded sympathetically. No ties, good sign. Cripes, I was thinking like a freaking stalker. One of the first things you learn in Quantico, and as a psychologist too, now that I think about it, is that, as a profiler, you start noticing disturbing traits in yourself all the time. Its a normal thing. Well, that is what the books say at least. Rationalizing things out is another good lesson they teach you; it keeps you sane. Which is what I started to do, and I realized what I'd feared was true. Ten years and I was still carrying a torch.
"Well?" I drew myself out of my head to find Betty staring at me expectantly.
"I asked if you were seeing anyone? I noticed that you don't have a wedding ring, or are you the type that doesn't wear one." Wow. She just beat me to the punch! And she was so damn calm about it. But really, why wouldn't she be?.
"Oh. No, not married. Not really seeing anyone either." Betty gave me her popped eyebrow look. The girl could rival The Rock on that expression.
"Not really? Hmm."
"No. No, there's no one. I don't really have time with all these new psychopaths to hunt..." It sounded dorky to me, too, folks. Betty just laughed.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. About the time, not the psychopaths, of course. Lately its been work all day, go home, microwave dinner and collapse...a never ending circle"
"Jeez, Bets. Replace the microwave with take-out and that's my life you're living." We both had a good laugh at ourselves then. God, it felt good. I had really missed talking to her.
"Excuse me, Ladies and Gentlemen. May I have your attention." We looked up as the Check In Attendant, drew the crowd's attention.
"Flight 633 to Lakeside has be canceled. There is a leak in the fuel line, and it will not be repaired until tomorrow." The crowd groaned, but the attendant carried on. "We've made arrangements. Continental has a flight leaving in 45 minutes and Delta has one leaving in an hour; however, we estimate that there will only be 10 seats available. For the rest of you, we will gladly provide rooms for you at the Ramada for the night. Those of you that wish to spend the night may go and meet the liaison in luggage. Those who would like to try for a seat on another plane may wait here while we assess emergency considerations, then we'll be going by ticket number."
"Well," Betty said, "We're in no hurry. The commencement isn't until tomorrow night. If you stay, I'll stay."
"My ticket number is 63. I'll be staying regardless." I muttered. We grabbed our bags and made our way down to the luggage retrieval area. The hotel liaison did not look happy as we joined the crowd.
"I'm sorry, folks. There is a convention going on at the hotel, so we have a limited number of rooms to offer. First of all, how many families do we have?"
The families were sorted out and given rooms, then the couples. Finally they got to the single passengers.
"Okay," said the liaison, looking at the eight people left "unfortunately, we only have five rooms. The airline is contacting the next closest hotel." Betty looked at me sideways and grabbed my arm, hauling me to the front.
"We'll take a room; we don't mind sharing. " she said. A few more people came up behind us; not wanting to wait either.
"Thank you so much. I apologize for the inconvenience, just present your keycard at the hotel restaurant for a complimentary dinner and breakfast." We were handed our keys and ushered to a waiting tram.
"Free food, " I said, "Not too bad a deal I guess." Plus I'd be sleeping in the same room as Betty once again. Yeah, things were looking pretty good.
"Oh, Jug," Betty laughed at me, "You haven't changed a bit."
"Well, beggars can't be choosers. Besides, it looks divine." Betty, optimistic as ever, seemed to be totally nonplussed at the sight of the King-sized bed in the middle of our "double room". She was right, the bed looked very comfortable, but I somehow doubted I would get to enjoy it. How could I possibly go to sleep with Betty right next to me? After all this time. Argh. It would be like the first night all over again. I'm not going to deny the stirring in my nether region when I first set eyes one her in the airport earlier. I felt like a gawky 15 year old again. Oh, god it was going to be a hard night. Excuse the pun.
When we came back from the restaurant the room hadn't changed any, and I gave up all hopes of a peaceful sleep. Perhaps we'd just start talking and the night would just slip away. Betty went to take a shower as I surveyed the room. There was a lounge chair over in the corner, but I doubted Betty would let me sleep on it, I mean what excuse could I give for that? I told myself that I could express my true feelings for her and we could spend the rest of the night making mad passionate love...at which point my logical self stepped in, smacked me upside the nose, and told me to wake up. Were I to do something so stupid, I could look forward to either Betty running screaming from the room, or a knee to the nuts and being thrown out the door. At best it would garner a uncomfortable silence and a rotten weekend of avoidance. Yes, it was best to just grin and bear the torment.
"Jug, do you have any actual clothes in your duffle bag. I need something to sleep in." Ahh, fate is a bitch. I'd like to think that I'd been a pretty decent guy all around, so why was karma kicking my ass? I sighed as I dug an old Hoya t-shirt out of my bag.
"All I have is a t-shirt."
"That'll do. They used to go down to my knees anyway." The door opened and Betty's hand thrust out through all the steam. I gave her the shirt and went back to the bed to remove my shoes. I hung my jacket up, and unbuttoned my shirt. I debated whether or not to take off my pants as I shrugged off my standard issue government button up. At least the white t-shirt I wore underneath it didn't have coffee or cheezy puff stains on it. I could at least salvage some of my dignity tonight. Where were my damn running shorts? Since I'd switched to the snug boxer briefs Ma usually bought me for Christmas, I'd never really missed my old boxers until that night.
I was mentally chastising myself for all the inappropriate thoughts I'd been having when the bathroom door finally opened. Perhaps if I'd quit thinking about it, it wouldn't be a problem.
"Um, I must have gained a little weight since high school," Betty said as she stepped out of the doorway. Did she ever...in all the right places. The t-shirt only hung down to her mid thigh. Oh gods, strike me down in flames right now. There went my argument and my logic right out the freaking window. The night just kept getting worse or better or whatever. I jumped up and ran into the bathroom to take a shower. A cold shower.
I rubbed the steam from the mirror when I got out of the shower and stared at myself in the mirror. I ran my hands through my hair as I thought about how the hell I was going to survive the night. My plan was to calmly walk back into the room, slide into bed, and start talking about the summer we went on tour as "The Archies". Hopefully that would generate enough conversation to get us through the night. If that didn't work, my back up plan was to turn on the Discovery channel and pray that it was "true crime" night and not "animal mating habits" night. Since I didn't plan to parade around outside of the bed, I decided to leave the slacks off.
Betty was already in the bed, sitting up and watching the History channel. I hung my slacks up and got into my side of the bed. The bed was huge. We had a good three feet between us. I thought I might be able to get some sleep after all.
"Are you going to sleep already? This is a really interesting show. Why don't you come over here and watch it with me," she patted the empty space in the bed between us. I decided right then and there that she was just out to kill me. Plain and simple. I must have been a total dick to her in a previous life and this was my pay back.
"Oh, okay," I sighed, scooting over next to her. She snuggled into my side. Try as I might, I just couldn't picture Ms. Grundy in a bikini. Nothing was working.
"So, uh, I was thinking about that time we went to Rock City to play that gig..." I was cut off sharply by Betty's lips. I just stared at her in surprise, but as she began to nibble my bottom lip, I closed my eyes and relaxed. I was privy to the divine light of heaven once again. Her hands snaked around my shoulders as mine found their way to her hips. Her lips parted slightly, and I took the opportunity to plunge in a get a good taste of her tonsils. She sighed and went to work with her own tongue. I'm not sure how long it was before we broke off our kiss.
"Mmm, god. I've been wanting to do that all day," Betty sighed. I remembered to pick up my jaw from the floor and close my mouth as I stared at her. Her lips were swollen from our tongue dueling session and her blue eyes now looked smoky as she returned my stare. I fought off the urge to pinch myself.
"I know this is sudden, but you know I'm not like this. I've just missed you so much." She squeezed my hand; I squeezed back.
"I've really missed you too, Bets. More than you'll ever know." It seemed as if she almost didn't hear me. She ran her hand threw my hair and down my face.
"When I went off to Michigan, I was going mostly to get away from Archie and Ron. I knew if I stayed around, I'd never get over Archie. But when I got there, it wasn't Archie I ended up missing." She pulled me to her once again. I ran my hands down her back, tracing her curves and rubbing small circles up and down.
Betty pulled away again.
"You taste so good; better than I'd dreamed. I never found anyone who made me so comfortable, who made me feel as happy as you did. I know this all sounds so crazy. You must think I'm mental, but I thought and thought about it, and I always come back to the same conclusion. I love you." Okay, I thought to myself, here's what really happened: you slipped on the floor in the bathroom and hit your head on the sink on the way down. That's it, it has to be. Why else would the girl you are nuts over be saying all those words you rehearsed so many times in your head.
"Jug?" I looked up. She was still there.
"I...Betty, I don't know what to say," I said.
"I know. It's crazy, but I just couldn't keep it in anymore. I just hoped.. I don't know..."
"I feel the same way," I interrupted. I couldn't leave her hanging like that. "Christ, Bets. I've loved you since we were eleven years old." She blinked. I could tell she was surprised.
"You have? Why didn't you ever say anything?"
"You loved Archie...he was my best friend."
"Oh, god. I was so stupid." She grabbed me once again, kissing me harder than before. She held my face as she broke the kiss enough to begin sucking on my bottom lip again. I slid my hands over her smooth ass as she left my bottom lip and trailed down to my chin, sucking and nipping as she went. I groaned as her shirt rode up and my hands came in contact with smooth, hot flesh. She wasn't wearing anything underneath my shirt. I thought I was hard before!
She was kissing her way around my chin when she moved her the thumb of her right hand over to graze my lips. I caught it and began to suck on it. She groaned as she nibbled my adam's apple and moved her left hand to slid it under my shirt. I slid my hands up her smooth back, then ran them back down her sides. When her finger found my nipple, tracing a circle around it before squeezing it between her finger and thumb, I almost screamed.
"Too much clothing." I growled. She let go of me and raised her arms as I slid the shirt over her head. It took every ounce of strength in my body not to come right then. There she was, naked before me and my wildest dreams couldn't compare to what I was looking at. She was so beautiful. It was all almost too much to take in at once. I dropped my head to take one of those divine nipples into my mouth.
She moaned and grabbed the back of my head as I rolled it around my mouth like an olive stone.
"No fair," she gasped. "You still have clothes." I began pulling my shirt off, still attached to her breast, but she was impatient, reaching into my shorts and tracing the curves she found there. I let her loose with a moan as she used her free hand to throw my shirt across the room. I fell back against the headboard as she began to massage my hips.
"Uh-uh," she growled, pulling me back up. "Get these damn things off!" I smiled and did as she asked. I sat back as she devoured me with her eyes.
"Mmm. My turn," she said, pushing me down to the bed. She leaned over and began drawing circles around my nipple with her tongue. It was my turn to moan as she alternated between nibbling and sucking. Good, sweet little Betty Cooper. Who knew she was so bloody evil underneath it all? Her hands were everywhere all over me as we mapped out each other's body with our tongues.
What followed was a symphony of touching, tasting and, connecting. Seventeen years of burning desire reached a delicious zenith before cresting and sending us both spiraling into a beautiful oblivion. As my vision cleared, I shifted my weight, moving to the side. She moved with me, trying to stay connected for as long as possible.
I kissed her forehead as she dozed lightly. I felt good. Relaxed. Complete. It was a feeling like having an earache for so long that you just become used to it. Then, one day your ears pop and you feel normal again, but it feels so much better because, for such a long time, normal wasn't what it should be. I felt like everything was right in the world. Just knowing that the girl of my dreams wanted me just as much as I wanted her was enough to make me complete, at last.