Jughead Jones was out on a walk. Well, 'walk' would be a strong term. He wasn't willingly seeking exercise that didn't involve extra-curricular sports, he was just bored and figured he'd walk to Pop's to see if he could find anyone to hang out with. He had originally wanted to go see his friend Betty Cooper. And by friend he could even venture as far as to describe her as a close or best one. If there was one person in this world that had no faults it was Betty, and he loved that about her.
Hell, he loved her period. He always has. Sure, he has a reputation as a lady hater, but that wasn't really the truth. He loved Betty, and no other girl could compare. So he didn't try to find a replacement. And he didn't try to win Betty over either, because it was a fact that Betty was head over heels for Archie, his buddy. And he only wanted her happy, so he let her go with Arch.
But Archie did not make her happy. He split his attentions between Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper unevenly with Ronnie the main recipient, and often dumped Betty in favor of the stuck up rich girl. The only reason Jughead really associated with Veronica at all was because Betty liked her, and he wanted to make Betty happy.
Jughead was a good guy, and wanted things to work out between his two best friends. Problem is, he loved Betty to a fault. And it hurt to see them together. And it hurt even more to see Archie mistreat her. No matter how close he was to his buddy, he would not forgive him for that. Betty deserved better than lonely nights at home crying because she was second best.
She was a first place trophy wife kinda girl, not to be second place to anyone. Much less Veronica Lodge, who only cared for the next season's fashions and her father's wallet plastic. She deserved a lot more than Archie, that's for sure. She deserved someone who appreciated her.
He appreciated her more than anything. And he would do anything to be the guy she fell in love with. But he knew more than anything that he was just a friend to her. He was forever in the friend zone it seemed.
It was a damn shame she wasn't home. He could have used with some of her infectious laughter. Or her delicious cookies. Or even seeing her.
He was distracted from his internal monologue and angst by sniffling. The sniffling of a crying girl. He froze, his manly instincts bidding him to escape. But the gentleman in him wouldn't let a girl cry alone. He knew better than that.
Searching for the source of the crying, he froze. The girl who was just occupying his thoughts was sitting alone, on the brick wall, sniffling as big tears fell from her blue eyes. Betty Cooper was once again crying, and he already knew why. Betty cried for nothing but Archie.
"Betty Blue-Eyes, dare I ask why you are crying?" Jughead heart clenched to see her this way as he walked up to her. She looked up to see him, her blue eyes swimming with moisture. He felt a stabbing pain in his chest. She looked like a lost puppy. Add Sarah McLachalan and he'd be a sobbing mess as well.
"Oh, Juggie." She sniffled pitifully and Jughead couldn't resist sitting in the spot next to her and wrapping his arms around her shoulders in a half-hug. "It's Archie. But you already knew that. Of course you did."
"What about him? What did Archie do?" Jughead already felt a little bit of anger, knowing his best friend caused this. He loved Archie like a brother, but he can't forgive this. He could never forgive the way he treated Betty.
"Well, he asked me to the prom a while ago. So I made such a pretty dress. I knew it was because Ronnie had another date, and I was his back-up, but I was so excited. But then Ronnie's date had to go to Milan to model."
"Don't tell me..."
Betty starting sobbing, her words barely audible as she finished her story. "Archie called me to tell me that he was going with Ronnie instead. He said it is our last prom, and Ronnie insists. Oh, Juggie... I was so excited. And now..." She cried harder. "Now I have a dress for nothing."
"The prom? You can't mean the prom that's tomorrow, right?" Jughead wasn't planning on going. He just knew that Ethel would make him dance, and he didn't want to see Betty with Archie. Or Reggie. Or whomever. He didn't want to see Betty with anyone but him.
"What other prom is there?" She tried to calm herself. "Oh, I can't go by myself. I guess I'll stay h-ho-hoooommmeeee..." The thought made her bawl harder.
Hatred welled up within Jughead. He had never thought he'd feel this emotion towards his best friend, Archie, but he could not forgive him for this. Ever since he knew he loved Betty, he let Archie have her. He tried to make Archie work to deserve her, and he yelled at him when he was a jerk to Betty. But never before did he hate him as he did right now.
Archie had asked Betty to the dance months ago, he remembered her elation, and then he chose the night before the dance to break it off. For another girl no less. That didn't leave her any time to find another date. And it was a downright sleazy thing to do.
He no longer cared for Archie's happiness. He had hoped that Archie would outgrow Veronica and see Betty for the great person she was. Jughead knew that Archie could never be truly happy with Veronica, and wanted to see him have a happily ever after. And most of all, he wanted Betty to get her wish.
But this was the final straw. It became clear that Archie did not deserve Betty. Not even if he reformed himself. The damage of what he had done to her was too much. And, considering the alternatives (Reggie Mantel being one of them), the only person that came even close to deserving her was himself. And he wasn't conceited enough to claim he deserved her either.
But he would try.
And if he could, he would take Betty from Archie and give her the happy ending she deserved. Like a damn Disney Princess.
For a while he held her. Stroked her back lovingly to calm her down. When her sobs stopped, he whispered words of comfort to her. She hiccuped from the strain of her crying session, but he simply petted her hair and waited for her to stop.
"Oh Juggie. Don't look at me now. I must look awful." She shielded her face from him shyly. Gently he pulled her hand back and offered her a kind smile.
"You look beautiful, Bets. You always do."
"Thank you, Juggie." She offered him a small lift of her lips despite her sadness. And he wasn't lying. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, even with her eyes swollen and blood-shot and her cheeks wet with tears. He vaguely realized that his arm was still around her, but he wasn't going to let go unless she wanted him to.
"I think that the best way to get back at Archie for what he did is to go to the dance and look your best. Show him what he's missing." Jughead came to a decision, and he was going to claim Betty's heart to the best of his ability. Starting now.
"Oh, but Juggie. I couldn't. What would people say if I showed up to the senior prom alone? They'd all know I got jilted by Archie. I would be the laughing stock and center of gossip all night." She wiped her cheeks. "No, I'll stay at home. And bake something. That always keeps my mind off of things."
"As much as I like the thought of your baking, I'm serious Betty. You can't let him know how much he hurt you. It will just inflate his ego. Besides, you won't be going alone." She pulled back from him just far enough to search his face with confusion.
"What do you mean?" Betty was so oblivious sometimes. But he liked that about her. He sighed.
"I'm saying, I'll take you to the prom, blue-eyes. I'll make it the best night off your life. You deserve it, and I won't let Archie take that from you."
"You will?" Betty perked up. "But not like a date?" She knew he was a 'woman-hater'.
"No, I'll be your date for the night. Matching tie and everything." Jughead offered her a crooked grin. "Anything for you, Betty."
"Oh thank you! Thank you!" She flung her arms around him in a huge hug and he felt like he was in heaven. "I love you, Juggie! You are the best friend a girl could have!"
His heart grew warm with those words, though he knew that she didn't mean them the way he wanted. Maybe someday... he promised himself, if I can breach the friend zone.
"So, in all interest of being the perfect date, what color of dress with you be wearing, my lady?" He really did want this to be perfect.
"Blue. Light blue." Betty was grinning now. Oh, how he loved that smile. He hoped to keep it on her face for as long as possible.
The rest of the afternoon fled in a blur. He bought Betty some ice-cream, the chocolate type in a cone. He got himself some too of course, but his main goal was to make her feel better. He heard somewhere that chocolate ice-cream made girls feel better. They ate it as he walked her home. She gave him a big hug at the doorstep.
"I'll pick you up at 7 tomorrow, okay?" He gave her a big squeeze.
"Okay, I'll be ready."