Touch of Evil // Part Two

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"Vanna!"

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"Vanna!"

Mom's shout was the first thing I heard when I walked into Pop's. She had gotten a waitress job here after Archie's dad denied her one. I wasn't upset as she was. I knew some things would be harder than others.

"Hi, Mom." She wrapped me in a hug as Jughead stood behind me awkwardly, "This is Jughead, a friend from school. Jughead, this is my mom."

Jughead reached forward to shake my mom's hand, "It's a pleasure."

Mom smiled in return and let his hand go, "Pleasure's all mine. And, call me Hermione. Mrs. Lodge is a bit too formal for me, especially here. Choose any spot, I'll be over in a second to grab your orders."

Jughead snagged the usual booth as I turned back to Mom, "You're doing great. Better than me this week. Much better than Ronnie, for sure."

Mom rounded the counter to face me, "Yeah, we're surviving, Savanna, by our wits, because that's what we Lodge women do," I opened my mouth to correct her but she caught it, "Including you."

"If Dad could see us now," I teased.

The bell above the door rang, "Yeah, he'd say you look stunning in that new uniform." Veronica walked in, Archie right behind her. I smiled at Mom and went towards Jughead. Archie was not someone I wanted to be around at the moment and I could already sense an awkward conversation ahead.

"Ah, and the snake reveals himself." Jughead's eyes locked on our friend. A conversation struck up between my family and Archie as I turned myself fully to Jughead.

"How's the novel coming?" I motioned to his open laptop.

He shrugged, "The revelation of Jason being shot threw in a twist. I have so many questions, suspects, and pieces I need to put together but it's impossible to do in my head."

Mom came over and wrote down our orders before retreating again. I watched Jughead for a second as he typed away, "So don't do it in your head."

He looked up, eyebrows furrowed in confusion, "How else am I going to plan it?"

"Draw it, pin it, make a literal puzzle, I don't know. Make a board," I shrugged.

Jughead rolled his eyes at me, "Yeah okay. I'll call you when cardboard comes back into style."

--

Hours later, Jughead managed to drag me to Archie's house. He finally decided enough was enough and wanted to confront him. I learned that the teacher's name was Ms. Grundy. It sounded sketchy enough, if you ask me.

"Jesus, Jughead. You could've at least let me run home for bug spray," I commented as I killed another mosquito. That was the seventh one in the past ten minutes.

"Drama waits for no one, Savanna Marrows."

At that moment, Archie rounded the corner to face Jughead and me. A sigh left his lips as he realized who it was. Jughead ignored the reaction and stared at the redhead expectedly.

"Jug. Sav. What's up?" Archie looked between the two of us.

Jughead ran his hand down the railing of the stairs as he stood, "What's up is we saw you, Archie. In the music room. With Ms. Grundy."

Archie stepped forward suddenly, his finger inches from us, "Keep your voice down, my dad's inside."

"We're trying to help you, Arch." I grabbed his arm lightly.

"We're trying to be your friends, here. Even though we're not, anymore." Jughead paused and looked away, "How long? You and Grundy?"

Archie stared Jughead straight on, "Since the summer. I like her."

Jughead scoffed next to me, his arm coming up to lean on my shoulder, "So I'm guessing she's the reason you've been acting weird since summer?"

"One of them," Archie licked his lips but didn't break eye contact.

I glanced at Jughead, "One of them? There's more?"

Archie finally stopped staring a Jug. He sighed again, "We were at Sweetwater River on July 4th. We heard a gunshot. The gunshot."

Jughead's jaw dropped at the news. He moved his arm from my shoulder and took a step down towards Archie. "Dude, you have to tell somebody."

"I can't." Archie shook his head furiously, "Neither can you guys. If people find out about Grundy..." He glanced at the front door.

"A kid is dead, Archie!" I finally broke, "And you're worried about some weird, messed up, and might I say, illegal relationship with a teacher?"

Archie stepped closer to her, "She's not like that, she cares about me."

"Stab in the dark," Jughead scoffed, "I'm guessing she cares more about herself. She's the one who's telling you not to say anything, right?"

Archie didn't respond to Jughead's comment. He only glared at the ground. I felt bad. I had no business being here, especially with whatever drama Jughead and Archie have since the summer.

"Look, I saw you guys. She's messing with you, man. And she's messing with your mind."

Archie leaned in closer, his anger finally getting the best of him, "What the hell do you know about it, Jughead? Or about me, even?" His attention moved from the boy to me, "And Savanna, you haven't even been here! What right do you have of coming here and accusing me of...of breaking rules when your dad broke plenty!"

My mouth went dry at his comment. As much as I wanted to defend myself, my family, my dad, I knew Archie wasn't a force to reckon with right now. Jughead's hand wrapped around my elbow as he attempted to leave.

Archie stopped him, "Jug...if you tell anyone about this-"

"What? What are you gonna do?" Jughead gritted his teeth together.

The sound of a door opening made me jump. We turned to face Archie's house as a man, I'm assuming his dad, walked out. "Uh, hi. I'm Fred, Archie's dad."

I nodded curtly, "Savanna Marrows, Hermione Lodge's daughter."

His eyes widened, "Do you guys want to come in? We got take-out from Pop's."

Archie glared at both of us before answering, "They were just leaving." Jughead scoffed again before leading me away from the scene.

--

The next day, I leaned next to Ronnie's locker as the previous night replayed in my head. Jughead didn't seem the least bit fazed by Archie's attitude when he kicked us out. I couldn't believe he was covering for Grundy though. A situation like that is messed up enough, let alone the fact that they heard the gunshot.

"Are you okay? You seem really out of it today." Veronica's voice snapped me back to reality as I looked at her.

I shrugged my shoulders, "Got a lot on my mind, that's all." She opened her mouth to reply but Betty's voice cut her off.

"You were right." Veronica looked back at her silently, "About what you said about Archie. Sometimes it's hard to admit things to yourself. My mother is crazy. I'm afraid I'll never see my sister again. The boy I like doesn't like me back."

Veronica closed her locker and stepped closer to Betty, "He may not be crushing on you, but he does love you. And he's legit miserable without you, if it's any consolation. My mom says sometimes a friend is better than a boyfriend," She shrugged, "Maybe this is one of those times."

--

Thank you all so so much for the support!! I'm super excited to see where everything goes from here. It means the world :)

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