The Last Picture Show // Part One

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Pop's seemed to be a second home at this point to our group

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Pop's seemed to be a second home at this point to our group. There was rarely a night when we weren't there at least once. Currently, Jughead was ranting about how the drive-in was closing and we should all be upset. Honestly, I could understand where he was coming from but my sister had a point when she said Netflix and VOD were more popular.

"You guys should all come to closing night. I'm thinking American Graffiti...Or is that too obvious?" Jughead rolled his eyes at the situation.

Ronnie titled her head, "I vote for anything starring Audrey Hepburn. Or Cate Blanchett."

"Or The Talented Mr. Ripley," Kevin threw in before turning towards us, "Betty, your choices?"

The girl next to me finally looked up from her milkshake. I glanced over at her. She had been quiet all night, like her mind was wandering elsewhere.

"Everything okay, Bets?" I placed my hand on hers.

She shook her head as if to clear her mind, "Yeah, I'm just thinking. Um...maybe Rebel Without a Cause?"

Jughead turned to her and smiled before they both laughed. Suddenly, Mom was at the end of the table, bringing more shakes and food.

"Here you go, kids." She placed the last dish in front of Veronica.

"Thanks, Mom." Ronnie smiled up at our mom before she walked away. Conversation resumed again, this time Kevin and Betty about which movie they wanted. I pulled away from the chat to hear a familiar, cringe-worthy voice. Cheryl Blossom was always loud but even I could tell she was being exaggerate as she attempted to embarrass Mom in front of the restaurant.

"Be sure to put all the cash in the register," Veronica and I pushed ourselves out of the booth and started our way towards Cheryl, "You are a Lodge, after all, and Lodges are known to have sticky fingers."

"Cheryl..." My voice held a threatening tone to it as I approached her table.

Mom stepped in front of Ronnie and I, seemingly unaffected by the insult, "Girls, I got this. Cheryl, I went to school with your mother. She didn't know the difference between having money and having class, either."

Ronnie smirked at the situation before turning on her heels and walking back to our friends. I squeezed Mom's shoulder before doing the same. I slid back in next to Betty just as the bell rang above the door.

"Now that's an odd combo of people." Kevin's comment made all of us turn around. Instantly, I turned right back as Jughead's eyes met mine. Archie, his dad, and Ms. Grundy had piled into the restaurant together.

"I'll be right back." Betty pushed me aside so she could climb out. We had told her what Doiley revealed about the river and chances are, she was about to confront Archie on the whole deal.

I grabbed her elbow in attempt to stop her, "Betty, no."

"No. Betty, don't." Jughead turned to watch her move.

Kevin stared at Jughead and I, "Wait, what's happening?"

Jughead and I could only watch as Betty approached Archie and pulled him outside. He made eye contact with Jug and I before following him out the door. I scooted further into the booth to watch out the window as the duo began talking.

"What's happening out there?" Veronica started her onslaught of questions, "Do we know? Is it about me?"

Jughead only hid his face from the outside window, sinking until he couldn't. "I have a strong inkling, and no. Also, I'd let it go."

"Yes, but you're you, and I'm me," Veronica smiled at Jughead, "You do you, girl. I'll be back." With that, my sister was out of the booth despite my protests. Jughead rolled his eyes at her actions.

"What was it like before you two got here? I honestly cannot remember." Kevin looked at me and then Jughead.

The dark haired boy only shoved some fries in his mouth before sulking into the seat again. Kevin excused himself for the bathroom, leaving Jug and I alone. I sighed and threw my head back against the booth.

"Jug, he's gonna kill us," I groaned.

"No, he won't," Jughead didn't look away from the confrontation outside, "But he might hate us."

I sat up, turning inward so I was facing him completely, "Technically, this isn't our fault. Betty just heard facts coming from another student. It could've been anyone to approach Archie."

"She heard facts that we gave her, Vanna. This is totally on us."

I slumped, "Yeah, I know."

I looked back out the window to see Betty climbing in the car with her mom. Veronica and Archie watched as they drove away before turning to each other to talk. I moved my attention to my melting milkshake. Veronica always seemed to follow drama everywhere she went. Sometimes, it was fun to watch but others, like this, ended up a mess for everyone around.

Somehow, just somehow, I knew this wasn't going to be pretty.

--

When I walked into Ronnie's room that night, I could tell she was trying to process the events from earlier. Granted, it wasn't a shock to her, as we had seen worse, but it was someone close that was involved.

"Ron? Everything alright?"

She was curled up in her favorite black nightgown with fuzzy socks on her feet. A cup of coffee was clenched in her hand as her eyes stared down her laptop screen.

"Fine. Thinking, processing, and investigating. Nothing about Geraldine Grundy is available according to multiple sites and it's got Betty and I suspicious."

I sighed and sat down across from her, "Ronnie, can we talk? Like for real?"

A sentence changed her plans as she immediately shut her laptop and set the coffee aside, all concentration on me. "What's up, Vanna?"

"Boy issues are taking over my life. That's what."

A smile made its way onto her face, "I can totally help you on this. Jughead really wants everyone to go to the drive-in, right? So go, be his date. Ask him to hang out with you and see if he can take you up into the film booth and you can watch from there? I'll call in chocolates and we can buy you a cute, comfy outfit. He won't be able to say no. Trust me."

I nodded and looked away from her. That wasn't all I was in here about. "I really like him, Ronnie. I do, but I can't tell him what's wrong. I'll be able to talk to him but never fully and I don't want that. I don't want to hide myself from him."

Veronica's hand tugged my wrist so I was curled into her side, "Savanna, I promise you that Jughead will wait until you're ready. If you don't want to tell him, then don't, but he won't judge you. In case you missed it, he's got some messed up issues of his own besides losing his job. That kid will understand anything you throw at him."

A sigh left my lips as my reply. I knew she was right. Jughead hid dark secrets, maybe even some like my own, but both of us would need time to feel comfortable and trust each other fully.

I knew if I was going to trust anybody, it would be him.

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