Chapter 30: Peace (is fragile)

Come on, come on

Put your hands into the fire

Explain, explain

As I turn and meet the power

This time

Archie was pissed.

Growling as his character died for the 12th time in the last hour, he threw his game control off the side of the bed and fell back against his pillows. So much for this stupid game being the best of all time. Stupid Reggie. See if he ever asks that moron for his opinion ever again.

This television screen fell silent, blinking with a prompt to continue or return to the main menu.

If only that was an option for real life.

He was so sick and tired of this. Of being alone on a Friday night. Of Ronnie not being able to hang out because of some fancy dinner her dad was throwing. Of the stupid girls dragging their stupid boyfriends to some play downtown. Of the stupid guys for just lettingtheir girlfriends drag them away and abandoning him.

Of Jughead for taking away his only other option for a date night.

Of Betty for letting Jughead take her.

Of himself for just standing there while everything flew out of control.

Archie was pissed.

He just wished that he knew just whohe was pissed at.

This time

Turning white and sense dire

Pull up, pull up

From one extreme to another

Reclined in a bubbling, soothing hot-tub in the Lodge indoor pool area, Veronica relaxed every muscle in her face, as her mud mask worked it's magic on her skin.

With school finally over for the year, she had so much pampering to catch up on! (This was enough to assuage the guilt she felt earlier when Archie called to hang out, and lied about having other plans for the night.)

Classical music spilled from the build in speakers throughout the room, dancing to the soft hum of her tub.

With her eyes closed, she could easily conjure up the image of Betty: a smiling, blushing, scared, and happy Betty. Veronica had been spending so long being confused and baffled by Betty and Jughead's relationship, she had completely missed how her best friend was flourishing. (This guilt was a little more potent.)

And, she did not lie earlier: she didn't really understand. Jughead wasn't exactly a catch, in her opinion. He was too tall. Too lanky. Too lazy, slobbish, and unkempt to be romance material. But, even she could see how right he looked at Betty's side.

Because the two of them had been friends. And, even as friends, Jughead was always there when Betty needed him.

Veronica sighed. But, did it have to look so weird?

From the summer to the spring

From the mountain to the air

From Samaritan to sin

And it's waiting on the end

They couldn't stop touching.

The short table was set up in a tatami mat area where couples were seated across from each other, legs folded beneath them and food easily accessible from any point.

Betty and Jughead sat side-by-side, laughing and moaning as they dipped chunks of bread and vegetables into steaming pots of cheddar, fontina, and gruyere cheeses. To make the ordering process easier, they had signed up for the four course option, which left them less time to deliberate over the complicated menu, and more time to forget about everything else.

Betty gasp and cheered at every new dip or dish brought to their table as the empty dishes were swept away. Her cheeks were sore from all the helpless smiling; taking short breaks when Jughead fed her a square of Andouille sausage dipped in Coq Au Vin. They always stayed connected: his knee against her thigh, her exposed ankles cradled between his socked feet (because the waiter said to make themselves comfortable and she loves to take things to heart).

Jughead was surprised by how easy it was to push his complications with Archie out of his mind as he busied himself with endless combinations of steak, chicken, shrimp, breads, and vegetables: leaving no fondue pot untouched. He laughed at Betty's delight when the waiter brought out the Bananas Foster fondue, the desert lit aflame at their table as it was professionally flambéed. Squares of cheesecake, pound cake, and brownies accompanied strawberries, bananas, and marshmallows, and Jughead had to try them all. And, if he got a little carried away, leaving Betty the opportunity to kiss away the white chocolate fondue at the corner of his lips . . .

Well then, he couldn't be blamed for returning the favor.

And now I'm alone I'm looking out, I'm looking in

Way down, the lights are dimmer

Now I'm alone I'm looking out, I'm looking in

Way down, the lights are dimmer

[Word Count: 700]

Chapter 21-30 Song List

21. "Fairweather Friend"-Vanessa Carlton
22. "Mountain and the Sea"-Ingrid Michaelson
23. "Radioactive"-Marina and the Diamonds
24. "Sentimental Guy"-Ben Folds
25. "Lights"-Ellie Goulding
26. "Losing My Mind"-Daughtry
27. "Iron"-Within Temptation
28. "Good Riddance"-Green Day
29. "Your Song"-Elton John
30. "Into the Fire"-Thirteen Senses

[AN: Yeah. So, I fell out of touch with this fic. (And, I'm not going to lie, I had half of chapter 28 written for like a year). I apologize to those of you who have been sticking with this fic since I disappeared. But, I am back (classes are over and I finally have my Masters, so at least there is that).

Just in time of the angst to start!