Title: Never Noticed Before
Rating: PG-13 (to be safe)
Summary: Archie breaks another promise to Betty and she's left crying AGAIN! Jughead helps her to see that all he will do is hurt her. Will Betty begin to see Jughead differently? Will she see things that she "never noticed before"?
It was the Formal Valentine's Day dance at Riverdale High. Everyone was dressed up and happy… all except Betty. At the beginning of the dance Betty was the happiest girl in the room. But that was when she was the one dancing with Archie, now it was Veronica who was in his arms. 'It's not fair' she thought, 'He asked me. He came with me! Then she had to come and steal him away.'
Now it was a slow song and everyone was dancing, even the people who came alone. Normally she'd be dancing with Reggie, but he came with Cheryl. She would even dance with Dilton, but he and Ethyl had started going steady. And she refused to steal anyone's date. Veronica stole her happiness that way and she wouldn't steal someone else's. Therefore she was one of only two people who weren't dancing. The only other one who wasn't dancing was Jughead, who was busying himself at the snack bar.
What Betty didn't know was that Jughead had been watching her. He saw her dance with Archie. He saw Veronica take him away from her… again. And now he could see Betty sitting by herself and there were tears sliding slowly down her face. He sighed as he set his food down and wiped the crumbs from his mouth with his napkin.
Betty looked up, startled, when Jughead sat next to her. "What's wrong?" he asked, concern in his eyes.
She started at him. "What do you think!"
"Veronica…" It was a statement. Not a question or a guess.
Betty nodded and sniffed. "She's doing this just to spite me, you know. She knows I've looked forward to this night for months… and he actually chose me over her. He chose ME!"
Jughead just sat there looking at her thoughtfully. "Why don't we show her you don't care?"
"But I do!"
"She doesn't have to know that. Besides, it'll take all the fun out of it for her if she sees you still having fun."
"But I have no dance partner… how can I dance if I don't have a partner?"
"If you'll dance, I'll be your partner." Jug stood up and offered her his hand.
"Really? But I thought you planned on eating all night…"
"Well… I did…" Then he smirked at her. "But I'd rather dance with you."
Betty smiled and took his hand. A faint blush spread across her cheeks as the crowd parted and eyes were drawn as Jughead, Riverdale's number one woman hater, led her towards the middle of the dance floor.
When they stopped Jughead turned and she noticed a slight hesitation before he put his hands on her waist. She smiled and put her hands on his shoulders.
As the song played Jughead smiled down at her. It wasn't one of his normal smiles though… it was a look she had never seen on his face before and for some reason it caused butterflies to flutter around in her stomach. She forced herself to break eye contact.
The song ended much too soon for both Betty and Jug. Betty slid her hands off his shoulders. "Thank you for the dance Juggie… it really cheered me up." She seemed to have tensed up again and her mood went back down.
The next song started to play and it happened to be another slow song. Jug tightened his hold on Betty's waist and pulled her back to him. "It's another slow song… You don't want to stop now do you?"
Relief instantly filled her face and her shining smile reappeared. They resumed their dancing positions, and this time she couldn't help but notice how close they seemed to be and a faint blush spread across Betty's cheeks.
After the song ended both dropped their hands from their partner; Betty clasped hers together in front of her and Jughead shoved his into his pockets. "Thanks for the dances Juggie." Betty said with a sad smile as she turned to leave the dance floor.
Jug reached out and touched her arm, causing her to turn back. "Are you sure you don't want to dance anymore? This is one of your favorite songs isn't it? I'm still willing to dance if you are."
Betty just nodded, amazed that Jughead was willingly going this long without eh snack bar. She was also surprised that he knew she really liked this song. Archie never bothered to remember that kind of stuff. She let hip pull her back to their dance spot.
They danced the rest of the night, never leaving the other's side.
The last dance was announced; time had flown by in a blur for Betty and Jughead. As the slow, romantic melody played, Jughead held Betty to him, his fingers making random patterns on her back while she had her head leaning against his shoulder. He closed his eyes and resisted the temptation to hold her tighter. He couldn't believe he finally had Betty Cooper in his arms… even if it was only until the song ended.
Betty breathed deeply as Jughead's scent filled her senses. Before she had always thought he smelled of hamburgers, but this time he smelled different. There was still a food scent to him, but only slightly. There also was a slight scent of cologne, but that wasn't what had caught her attention. It was a simple good-smelling scent that must've just been him. Betty didn't know many people who had a naturally good scent, and Archie definitely wasn't one of those people. Without cologne his scent was… well, not bad, but not good either. It surprised her when she realized that this was the first time she thought of Archie since she had started dancing with Jughead. She closed her eyes and willed Archie back out of her mind and just basked in the scent that was Jughead.
Soon she felt Jughead's breath on her ear as he spoke softly to her. "Betty…"
"Yea?" She opened her eyes, not remembering having closed them.
"…The song is over."
She hadn't noticed. Blushing, she dropped her hands back to her sides and they stepped apart. Instantly Betty found herself missing his touch. 'Whoa!' she thought 'Where'd that come from?'
Before Betty could contemplate anymore on that anymore Veronica's voice came from behind her. "Yoo-Hoo! Betty!"
Betty turned with an eye roll and a sigh. "What do you want Veronica?"
"I just wanted to let you know that Archie is taking me to an all-night disco so you'll have to find your own way home."
"What! Wait, Veron-"
"Bye-bye Betty! See you in class." She gave Betty a pretty smirk then walked off laughing.
"Great!" Betty said, her good mood forgotten. She went toward the refreshment stand where she had left her jacket and purse.
"You ok, Betty?"
"Oh me, I'm fine." Betty said, her normally sweet voice was tainted by anger and disdain. "Not only did she steal my date, but then she stole my ride too." She glared darkly as she watched Archie follow Veronica out the door with a goofy, lovesick look on his face. She practically sobbed in frustration as she sat down with her face in her hands.
Jughead sat next to her. "If I had a car I'd offer you a ride home but..." He touched her arm, trying to console her, "since I don't have one…" He jumped to his feet "I offer myself as escort to see you home safely" He took off his hat and did a little bow. He received the reaction he wanted, Betty burst out laughing.
"How do you do that Juggie?"
Jughead tilted his head slightly to the side How do I do what?"
She smiled. "You can always make me smile, no matter how bad of mood I'm in"
Jug shrugged and smiled warmly. "I don't know…" he extended his arm to her "but I was serious about walking you home."
She smiled as she stood up and took his arm.
They spent the entire walk talking about nothing and everything, just goofing off and horsing around. Luckily Betty's dress shoes weren't that high so her feet didn't hurt all that much walking the distance from the dance to her house.
When they got to her driveway, the mood shift was very apparent. Neither wanted her to go yet.
"…Well… we're here," said Jughead, there was a hint of remorse in his voice. This caught Betty's attention, but she brushed it off thinking it wouldn't be possible.
Just as she was about to go inside, Jughead spoke up, "You want them to stop hurting you?
She turned back to him, hurt evident on her face. "Of course I want them to stop… but how can I do that?"
"Just don't give them the opportunity."
Betty shook her head with confusion, her expression a little angry. "What are you trying to say, Jug?" Thinking he meant she brought it all on herself.
"No, Betty, I don't mean it like that, I-" He broke off and sighed in frustration.
"What did you mean then?"
He didn't say anything for a minute, collecting his thoughts. "Archie's my buddy… and I love him like a brother… but it kills me to watch him treat you the way he does. He stepped closer to Betty and brushed a stray hair behind her ear, she found that her heart was pounding and she could hardly breathe. "Betty.. If you stay with him, all he's going to do it hurt you… Ronnie too."
Betty looked at the ground and a tear slid down her cheek. "I know…" More tears followed suite.
Jug pulled her into a hug and held her tightly, his hand rubbing her back "So what are you going to do?"
She pulled away and wiped her eyes. "I don't know." She said, shaking her head. "They're my friends… I can't just avoid them."
Jughead shook his head. "You don't have to avoid them… just don't let them hurt you anymore… don't make it possible for Ron to steal him away."
"Well what do you think I've been doing all these years? I've tried my best to hold on to him but-" She noticed the look on Jug's face. "Oh… you mean…" Her eyes widened "You mean you want me to stop going out with him!"
Jug shrugged, "If that's what it takes. You need to make sure he knows you won't let him treat you that way anymore."
She shook her head, "I've tried that before, it won't work."
"It won't with an attitude like that." Jug pointed out.
She sighed. "I guess I'll stop seeing him romantically." She said as she wrapped her arms around herself.
Jughead put his hand on her shoulder. "I know this will be hard and painful… But Betty, trust me, this will be best in the long run… Plus I'll be here to help you… whenever you need me, even if it's in the middle of the night."
Betty looked up into his kind eyes and threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. "Thank you Juggie" She said, pulling back enough to look up at him, "For everything."
He smiled. It was a sweet, almost shy smile. "Anything for you Betty." He said softly, almost a whisper. With that he placed a kiss on her forehead and turned to walk to his own home, his hands deep in his pockets.
Betty's hand went to her forehead and a smile spread across her face. She went inside and shut the door.
That was Friday night.