The Last Picture Show // Part Two

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"Veronica, Savanna, it's so devastating to me that your mother has to sink to such unspeakable lows just to keep those knockoff Hermes bags on your arms," Cheryl was back with another attempt to insult the Lodge/Marrows family, "What's next, selli...

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"Veronica, Savanna, it's so devastating to me that your mother has to sink to such unspeakable lows just to keep those knockoff Hermes bags on your arms," Cheryl was back with another attempt to insult the Lodge/Marrows family, "What's next, selling her hair extensions?"

I didn't even make eye contact with the redheaded witch, "Our mom's a waitress, Cheryl, not Fantine. And whatever faux concern you have, is a cover for another motive. So lay it on us, Blossom."

Cheryl's eyes tightened into a glare, "Only to remind you both of your place in this school, nay, the town's social hierarchy."

"Threatened much?" Veronica didn't look surprised by Cheryl's words, "Don't worry. You may be a stock character from a '90s teen movie, but we're not."

I stood up from my spot on the armrest to face Cheryl fully, "What does any of this have to do with our mom being a waitress?"

"It's just that I saw her talking to a Southside Serpent last night, in the alley behind Pop's," I turned to look at Ronnie and Kevin, "They were having an extremely heated, intimate discussion. See for yourself."

Cheryl flipped her phone around for me and my sibling to look at the picture. I knew what Ronnie's following question would be but I already had my answer. Jughead had told me that the Southside Serpents weren't what everyone made them out to be. He said they were different when you knew them. I didn't have a reason not to trust him and if anyone knew them, it would be Jug.

Kevin took to explaining the Serpents to Ronnie. I knew his explanation would be the same that majority of Riverdale would give so I didn't bother listening. All I heard was Ronnie saying that we were having a very important discussion with Mom later.

--

I'd have to admit, speaking to my mom about this kind of topic wasn't my favorite. I knew she wouldn't handle it well and it would start building cracks in our relationship. Yet, Veronica dragged me into the room anyway.

"Who knew working would be so...tiring." Mom sat in one of the armchairs as Ronnie stood in front of her. I hid behind my sister slightly, not all for the upcoming interrogation.

"Mom," Ronnie started out, "Cheryl showed us a picture. You were standing behind Pop's with a Southside Serpent. Those guys are thugs. What were you doing?"

Mom's shocked expression was quickly covered, "First off, you girls have nothing to worry about. Come here," She patted the seat in front of her. Ronnie moved first to sit as I took the armrest of Mom's chair. "Now, remember, girls, I grew up here. The Southside Serpents may be from the wrong side of the tracks, but I went to highschool with some of them. I was just being polite."

"Ha," I poked Ronnie in the shoulder, "I told you so. Can't judge a book by its cover, Ron."

My sister shook her head at me, "Cheryl said it looked like you were arguing."

"Arguing?" Mom scoffed, "Hardly. He made a lewd comment, and I put him in his place."

Veronica pressed on to ask her if she was in trouble. I pushed myself off the chair and retreated to my room. I trusted Mom enough to handle everything right. She was always looking out for us. She wouldn't put us in any immediate danger.

The sad part was, I couldn't say the same for my father.

--

The next few days carried more drama than I would've enjoyed. Turns out, Ronnie enjoyed breaking into Ms. Grundy's car with Betty. They found some weird evidence that she wasn't who she said she was, or something like that. I kept telling myself to stay away from that situation seeing as Archie could handle himself.

Currently, I was preparing myself for the drive-in's closing performance. Jughead agreed to meet me there and I had a feeling this would be a good night for the both of us. I knew he was struggling with the news of the area closing down, but I promised to be there to help him find something new.

I pulled on a light gray sweater with some leggings. My favorite socks covered my feet along with a pair of black boots. I kept my hair straight, figuring curling was too much work for me today.

I started towards the drive-in as my mind wandered. Veronica was falling apart this week. After our confrontation with Mom the other night, she was getting more and more suspicious. I couldn't blame her, as I wanted to know as well, but I let it be. The last thing Mom needs is her daughters bashing her as well.

Cars had already piled into the drive-in when I arrived. I spotted Jughead leaning against the film booth, his eyes taking in the scenery. Although it was only a job, I could tell Jughead held this place closer than most. Whatever happened here, he didn't want to let go of.

"Hey, Jug." I smiled softly as I approached him.

He turned towards me and pushed himself off the building, "Hey. You look nice," His cheeks turned a pink color.

"Thanks. What did you decide on for tonight?" I followed him as we started walking inside.

He pushed the door open for me, "I took Betty's suggestion on Rebel Without a Cause. I figured if we're going out, we're going out with a bang."

Jughead closed the door behind him as I looked around the room. Rolls of film covered a wall and there was of course, the movie projector. Blankets were piled in the corner and I could see what looked to be a mattress there too. Some snacks were on a box along with two milkshakes in to-go cups from Pop's.

"Aw, Jug. This is so cute."

He smiled sheepishly at me, "I tried to clean it up a bit. You should've seen it before this. Pop cans were everywhere."

"I can only imagine," I laughed as the film finally started. Jughead sat on the mattress before patting the spot next to him. I took the invitation and plopped down.

This is exactly what I wanted.

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