The night before the Mantles and Coopers are due to return to Riverdale, Betty is slightly antsy. She and Reggie had simply picked up where they left off before her hospitalization; with the hand holding, the flirting, the late night conversations… yet somehow things felt different. She was only just starting to notice how her stomach seemed to flip whenever he was around, and how she mentioned his name in conversation an awful lot. Three times at dinner, she had asked her sister to pass the Reggie.
The annoying thing was there seemed to be some sort of unspoken agreement between the two teens not to mention what Reggie had said to her in the hospital. It's almost as if Reggie had wanted to pretend it never happened, or that he had been hoping Betty couldn't hear what was being said to her while she was unconscious.
"Stupid Reggie Mantle" Betty mutters under her breath as she stirs the brownie batter in front of her with renewed vigor. She'd always baked when she was upset or confused, and her family was complaining of the pounds they were putting on this week. Betty doesn't remember being this exasperated with him since the time he'd put sneezing powder on the cake she'd made for Archie in the second grade. And she had hit him then.
As she mixes the batter, a she slowly smiles. Separating the batter into two bowls, she proceeds to add the rest of the ingredients. There was only one way to get Reggie Mantle's attention.
Meanwhile, down the road, Reggie is being given a talking to by Chick for "wussing out".
'Dude you're leaving tomorrow. And you KNOW she probably heard you. She knew about Ron and Jug, about me…'
"Ron's jealous glare probably gave her away. And it was written all over your face, dude. It isn't rocket science." Reggie knows he is clutching at straws, but he needs to buy some time. His plan had just been to show Betty what an awesome time she could have with him and NOT Archie Andrews, and didn't want to scare her off before he was sure of how she felt. She was sweet and considerate, but didn't fawn over him the way she'd had with Archie. Not that he wanted her to, but at least he would KNOW she was into him and now the red headed mess up.
'If she didn't hear, you need to tell her BEFORE you go back to Riverdale. If my sister goes steady with that knucklehead, I will fly back JUST to kick your ass' Chick is fuming. He does NOT like Archie Andrews. Never did, and probably never would, unless he stayed far, far away from Betty.
"It's not like I had a chance anyway"
Chick rolls his eyes. He can't believe he is actually wasting his time with this thick headed teenager. He is sure he has better things to do, but watching Reggie mope about the ranch with that lovesick puppy expression is driving him crazy. Plus, he does not want Betty to fall for Archie again. Apparently, he'd been calling every night since she woke up, sending texts about how he couldn't wait to meet her, how sorry he was for always taking her for granted. Chick suspects his apologies have more to do with Veronica and Jughead's relationship than anything else. He's about to really let Reggie have it when he catches a glimpse of a blonde ponytail at the entrance of the barn.
'Bets? What are you doing here at this time of the night? Do Mom and Dad know you're here?'
"How did you get here, anyway? Don't tell me you walked… alone… at night?" Both boys look horrified at the thought of Betty wandering around Texas in the dark. It is close to midnight after all.
"Jim drove me" Betty smiles at her brother, but her eyes are fixed on Reggie. Chuckling slightly, Chick makes an excuse about an important phone call and leaves the barn, as the two teenagers stare at each other in silence.
Reggie is nervous. From the looks of things, Betty's late night visit means she wants to talk, and no good ever came out of girls talking. His eyes drop to the large plate she is holding.
"BROWNIES!" Nervousness forgotten, Reggie's eyes light up. He'd always been jealous of the goodies Archie was constantly receiving from Betty over the years, not just because they were delicious (which they were) but because they were made by Betty. Eagerly, he grabs the top brownie from the pile, biting into it as Betty hides a smile.
"WATER!" Reggie's cheeks turn red as Betty cracks up, following him as he dashes into the house. After he chugs down several glasses of cold water, he turns to Betty in shock and admiration.
"Betty Cooper just pranked me…"
"That's what you get for telling a girl you love her when she's UNCONSCIOUS, kissing her and pretending nothing's changed when she wakes up" Betty tries to glare, but the corners of her mouth are twitching.
Reggie's face flushes again, this time in embarrassment. He doesn't really know what to say. After a long silence, he responds quietly, "So you heard…"
The blonde teenager quirks an eyebrow, "If I hadn't were you never going to tell me?"
"I would have… eventually… I guess"
"Listen, Bets, this isn't like-I mean, I've never actually FELT like this before- and you're not like other girls – and Andrews-"
Betty smiles slightly as she watches him attempt to stammer out a coherent response. She never thought she'd see the day when Reggie Mantle was genuinely nervous, especially about talking to a girl. It's sweet, and he is cute when he blushes. Impulsively, she walks towards him and pulls him down to kiss him lightly on the lips.
Almost on instinct, Reggie pulls her closer and deepens the kiss. Her arms encircle his neck as her lips melt against his, parting slightly to allow entry. Minutes pass as they explore each others' mouths with an urgency never experienced by either teen.
Eventually, they break apart, with identical glazed eyes and ragged breath. Betty's cheeks turn pink as she looks down, suddenly shy. She is forced to look up, however, as she feels a finger under her chin, pushing her face upwards.
"Bets… I meant what I said in the hospital. I love you. But," Reggie pauses and takes a deep breath, as if gathering the courage to speak further, "I-I think you should meet up with Carrot Top when we're back in Riverdale, and figure out how you feel about him"
In response to Betty's look of shock, Reggie explains further, "I've felt this way about you for a long time Bets, and I don't want to just be a summer fling. You-you've always loved Arch, and now that Ronnie is out of the picture you might actually have a chance with him. I think –"
Reggie is silenced by a pair of soft lips pressed against his own. Drawing back, Betty looks at him speculatively and speaks, "I broke up with Archie in the hospital"
"B-but… doesn't he still call you every night?"
"That's Archie… every time I try to move on, he suddenly realizes how he feels about me and starts giving me all this attention… until the next girl comes along. I was a sucker for him, but even before I ended up in hospital, I wasn't really looking forward to his calls. Adam said something to me last year before he moved away; he said I'd outgrown Archie. I hated to admit it at the time, but maybe I have. He's a good friend, but not what I want in a boyfriend."
Reggie tries desperately to quell the hope rising in his chest. Just because she seems to be over Andrews doesn't mean she's in love with him. He can't keep the grin from his face as she continues, "And… even before we came out here, I found myself looking forward to the time we spent together. I like talking to you, and I definitely like going out with you. Not many guys would fight with a doctor and pretend to be an intern just to camp out by my hospital bed"
Reggie blushes at this. She WOULD remember his embarrassing hospital moments. After regaining his composure, he decides it's time to be suave again, "Betty Cooper, are you saying you're in love with me?"
"I might be" Betty grins up at him. She doesn't know how he always managed to bring out her playful side, but she likes it.
"You might be, huh? Allow me to turn that into a certainty" Reggie pulls her towards him and kisses her, smiling tenderly as she looks up at him.
"Reggie Mantle, I'm not going to fall for a guy just because he's a good kisser"
"What about if he's an incredibly handsome, witty, intelligent star athlete/ actor/ debater?'
"You forgot modest"
"No, I forgot honest"
"I'll bet" looking up into Reggie's teasing eyes, Betty smiles suddenly, "It's pretty hard not to fall for a guy like that, especially if he sat by my bed day and night holding my hand when I was unconscious"
Clearing his throat, Reggie responds quietly, "I thought I lost you, Bets. I thought I'd never get a chance to tell you…"
"I love you too"
As Betty nods, she realizes she actually means it. She had loved Archie at one point, but her feelings for Reggie were more mature and consequently, more real. She could honestly say she had never felt as strongly for Archie as she does for the boy in front of her right now, even at the height of her Archie obsession.
Letting out a loud whoop, Reggie picks Betty up and carries her to the barn, where he plunks her beside his favorite palomino.
"Now we ride off into the sunset"
"The sun's already set. It's the middle of the night."
"The moonlight, then."
Giggling slightly, Betty allows Reggie to mount the horse and lift her up to sit behind him. They ride in the direction of the lake. Unlike in his dream, however, Reggie manages to turn around and kiss the girl of his dreams.
AN: It's over! I'm actually really sad this is done, I had a BLAST writing it. Thanks for the awesome reviews, and let me know if you want me to post the other two fics in the series.