La Grande Illusion // Part Two

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"Okay, Ethel

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"Okay, Ethel. Open your eyes."

Ronnie and I had torn apart our rooms top to bottom to find anything we could give to Ethel. Multiple dresses, coats, bags and jewelry laid across the couch.

"What is happening?" Ethel looked extremely excited.

"We were purging our closets, thinking how you would look magnificent in some of these," I motioned to a few of the clothes.

Ronnie picked up a black fur shawl from the couch, "Here. Try this on."

Ethel slid it over her shoulders as I picked up a hair piece, "This is so nice."

I reached forward to clip the piece in her curly hair. "And I love this. It is so you, Ethel."

"Guys, I can't take all of this." Ethel shook her head slightly at us but I could tell she was over the moon at the moment.

"We want you to have it," I reassured her, "These things, our dad gave them to us. He always brought home gifts whenever he did something wrong. As a way to make up for, I guess."

Ethel laughed, "Did it work?"

Ronnie sighed from next to me, "What girl is immune to the charms of a Givenchy bag?" She ran her fingers over the necklace of pearls Dad bought her, "And I still wear these pearls he gave me."

"Okay, but, you guys don't have to do anything. Give me anything. I just want to be friends." Ethel smiled at us.

"Us too, Ethel. Us too." I moved forward to give her a hug.

She didn't deserve her life to be torn apart. Knowing that our parents were the cause of this made it even worse. I felt like I had to give her everything I've taken for granted. I didn't deserve her friendship, not now, not ever. Especially not when my dad was taking everything her family ever earned, from them.


The next morning, Betty and Jughead met me in the Blue and Gold office. Betty had texted me last night to inform me that her parents had gone nuts at this point. Her mother threw a brick into a glass window because her dad changed the password at the newspaper office.

"My parents are unbelievable, you guys. Polly is locked up in that house like a character out of Jane Eyre, and what are they doing?" She threw her hands out, "Changing each other's login accounts and throwing bricks through windows."

I licked the icing off my fingers from my donut, "Okay but I would've paid $20 to see Mama Cooper throw that brick." Jughead turned to glare at me, "Oh can it, Jones. You know you'd want to see it too."

My boyfriend shrugged his shoulders as he turned back to Betty, who I could tell was annoyed by my comment. I apologized to the blonde before she continued her story.

"It's like, you know how, in a time of crisis, people either come together or fall apart? It feels like we're falling apart. And the way things are going, the Coopers, we're not gonna exist anymore. And there's nothing I can do to stop that." Betty's voice cracked as she teared up.

"Betty, don't do that." I stood up from my chair. "Don't give up."

Jughead nodded in my direction, "Your family is definitely splintering right now, but it won't fall apart, because of you."

"You're holding them together, Bets. You're so much stronger than all of the white noise. You're stronger than your mother, you're stronger than your father. Stronger than both of us." I motioned to Jug and I. "You're holding this family together."

Jughead placed a hand on her shoulder, "Don't. Don't let go."

"I won't," She whispered. I pulled her close as she sobbed in my shoulder. I sighed and rubbed her back before I felt Jughead wrap his arms around both of us. Everyone around us, including us, we were all falling apart. And even I didn't think it would end here.


When Kevin came racing up the hall, I wish I would've know what was coming. I wish I would've ran the other way, away from this. Away from Riverdale. Away from my parents.

"Oh, my God, did you hear?" Ronnie closed her locker as I stood by Betty, "Remember when you went swooping in to save Ethel 'cause you thought she might be suicidal?"

My heart stopped beating as I immediately grabbed Ronnie. "Kevin, please tell me she didn't-"

Kevin shook his head, "No, but her dad did."

My vision blurred at his words. My heart was pounding in my chest as he explained what happened but I couldn't hear. My ears were ringing. My hands shook violently and I knew what was happening.

Before I could stop myself, I took off towards the locker room. I could hear echoes of my friends screaming after me. I threw the door open and looked in the mirror only to see Ronnie behind me. She was sobbing as she collapsed on the bench. I watched as she reached up and yanked her necklace causing all the pearls to scatter on the floor.

I sank to the ground and pressed my back against the wall. I vaguely saw Betty's figure rush in the room. I felt numb. Absolutely numb. I couldn't do this. I couldn't live knowing I was part of the reason Ethel's father tried to kill himself. I had done this once but I couldn't do it again.


I heard someone shout my name. I couldn't move even if I tried. This wasn't real, none of this was real. I was back home with Jughead and we were watching a movie. I wasn't in school. I didn't just hear that someone tried to commit suicide. I felt myself open my mouth and scream. Nothing could take away the pain I felt right now. I wanted to escape, to never come back.

Please no.

Luckily, it seemed to be in my favor as everything became blurry and my mind faded to black.

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